Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening Symbolism

What are the symbols in "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost?

Expert Answers
favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Another symbol in this poem is the sleep referenced in the final stanza. Though the narrator wishes he could stop for a longer period of time in these woods because the scene is so beautiful and tranquil and because it is so lovely to be in such solitude and peaceful darkness, he realizes, ultimately, that he cannot. He says that he has "miles to go before [he can] sleep" (line 15). This line can be read symbolically—meaning that it has both literal and figurative meaning. Literally, the narrator has not completed his journey; this forest is not his final destination. He does have actual miles to travel before he can stop for the night and has reached his destination. Figuratively, the narrator is drawn by the darkness and the depth of these woods, and some might read this as a reference to death, especially because the narrator seems to be tired—he references, directly, his thoughts about sleep in the final two lines. In this case, sleep could be symbolic of death, and the fact that the narrator has "miles to go" before he can sleep means that he cannot stop now. He has "promises to keep": things that he must yet still do before his life can be finished. The narrator, despite whatever desire he has to remain here in the darkness and peace, must keep moving.

dneshan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The most significant symbol in the poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” would be the woods.  Through the adjectives that the speaker uses in the poem, the reader should recognize the tone/mood of mystery and danger.  This is evident when he says, “lovely, dark, and deep” (line 13).  Through the descriptions throughout the poem, it becomes clear that the woods would symbolize the beauty and mystery of the world that most people are just too busy to appreciate.  It is symbolic of the way that most people nowadays go through life – thinking only of themselves, being self-centered, and ignoring the mystery and the beauty of the nature that surrounds them.

elii | Student

"stopping by woods on a snowy Evening"The lovely,deep and dark woods. why does he call these dark snowy woods lovely? what we do associate with Dark and Deep? answer is the grave , graves are dark and deep ,but he love the grave why?because he has problem and he wants to die and release himself so woods are as a symbol of death. and snow and woods under the snow might be the symbol of beauty of death.

kc4u | Student

Robert Frost's poem Stopping by the Woods symbolizes a journey of life and a movement towards death. Almost every single element in the poem in that sense is symbolic of something. The undefined traveller on horse-back reminds one of the kinghts of the Middle Ages in course of a heroic adventure. The cold and the dead of night and the frozen lake in the woods, the 'darkest evening of the year' --all these elements build an ambiance where the immanence of death is at odds with the indomitable spirit of love, as exemplified by the traveller.

The owner of the woods is referred to but his name has not been mentioned. This can be a reference to the mystic and almost unnamable presence of god. The oath of the traveller to go on come what may, keeping his promises before he has to submit to the final call of death, an eternal sleep of sorts. The end of the poem is thus replete with philosophical symbolism.

mesui | Student

The woods may symbolise temptations in life, from a view they seem of mysterious beauty, and some are tempted to stay and enjoy the view,but the traveler chooses to continue his journey through life to reach his destination,which should be our goals in life too.there may be good times in life,but it will not always stay that way we must move on to face challenges and in the end all will be worth it.

Read the study guide:
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question