In Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," what impression does the reader gather about the traveler?

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scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While many literary critics debate the tone of Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," the poet does provide several clues about the speaker's personality.

  1. From the first stanza, we know that the poem's persona enjoys solitude. He seems to relish the fact that the owner of the woods through which he is traversing "will not see" him stopping to watch the snow softly fall (Line 3) and he does not seek out a farmhouse or inn for respite or company.
  2. The speaker is most likely not wealthy. He has a "little horse," not a team of horses or sleigh (Line 5), and he is solely responsible for getting to his destination (Lines 14-15).
  3. Finally, the traveler has a deep sense of personal responsibility. Tempted perhaps to get lost in the "lovely, dark, and deep" woods (Line 13), he brings his mind back to the purpose of his journey and the self-discipline necessary to keep his promises. Even though the poem ends ambiguously with no clear action on the traveler's part, readers get the impression that his repetition of "miles to go before [he sleeps]" serves as an attempt to restart his important trek. 
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Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

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