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rmhope eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Robert Frost did not write a poem called "Snowflake." Since you are posting the question under "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," you evidently meant this poem, which does speak about snowflakes. In the poem, a man and his horse have paused in their journey next to a frozen lake "to watch [the] woods fill up with snow." The scene is very quiet except for the shaking of the horse's harness bells and the "sweep of easy wind and downy flake." The man contemplates the peaceful scene as he realizes that he has "promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep."

Like many of Frost's poems, this poem has a literal meaning related to nature and a deeper metaphysical meaning that deals with truths about life and existence. The literal meaning is clear enough: A man stops for a moment on his journey to enjoy a beautiful and peaceful winter landscape. The deeper meaning is open to interpretation. Many have suggested that the poem speaks of a person's wish to die or even commit suicide--the idea being that the woods, described as "lovely, dark and deep," represent death and the man's attraction to them shows he wants to die. He knows, however, he has "miles to go before I sleep," meaning, much longer to live before he can die.

Others see the woods merely as a temporary escape from the demands of life, the responsibilities that are weighing the man down and that he must fulfill before he can "sleep," or rest from his duties. As much as the man would like to keep avoiding what he has to do, the call of the commitment he has made to others does not allow him to remain idle for very long. Another idea is to view the woods as any distraction, such as a siren song, that would lure one away from the path he is meant to take in life. 

Whatever the specific interpretation one prefers, the meaning is that if a person is to keep his promises, he must persevere despite distractions and temptations.

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Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

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