Please provide a summary of Robert Frost's Stopping by woods on a Snowy Evening.
durbanville | Certified Educator
Robert Frost is well-known for his personal style and poems which appear simple and therefore appeal to a large readership. However, these same poems usually have a more complex meaning or interpretation. Frost always believed that poetry can be understood as long as words are well-placed and create a tone which exposes the true intention. However, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening has invited discussion on whether he intended to infer that the woods are dark and sinister or simply mysterious. In one opinion, the appeal lies in the beauty of the woods and the perfect image that is revealed. Ultimately, the narrator has things to do but has at least enjoyed this natural scenario, free from all responsibility, even if only momentarily.
Frost commences with an inquisitive tone as he approaches the woods and ponders to himself about the ownership of the woods and a landowner who is removed from this space as he lives in the village although it is the narrator who now has the benefit of seeing the woods "fill up with snow." The narrator knows that it is not routine to stop here and perhaps in the past he would have ridden straight past. Even his horse which would associate stopping with arriving at a "farmhouse near," may find this behavior to be unusual, especially as it is the "darkest evening of the year," and the horse's reaction indicates its own surprise at this impromptu pause in the journey. Perhaps it is the fact that it is a specific night in mid-winter that prompts the narrator to stop and enjoy his surroundings for a change. Alternatively, the reader could interpret this to mean that the horse senses the danger of stopping here. However, the fact that the other sounds are "the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake" create a calm and relaxing atmosphere and should dispel any such fear that may have been hinted at because there is a feeling of security which is inferred by the words easy and downy.
It is as if the narrator is almost going into a reverie as he looks into the woods which are "lovely, dark and deep." The narrator appreciates the simple beauty or splendor by which he is surrounded. However, he must collect himself as he has a journey to finish and apparent responsibilities to attend to, and so needs not to be distracted. The repetition in the last two lines is almost like a lullaby. He may quite well dream of this idyllic landscape covered in snow when his journey is indeed complete.