Who is the speaker of "Mending Wall?"  

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The speaker of this poem is a man who questions the importance of the walls we put up- both physical and emotional. He starts the poem with the contemplation, “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.” Here, he is referring to the tendency of some kind of force of nature that causes the “frozen-ground” to “swell” (2) and damage a wall, creating gaps in it. It seems that if this “something” is so determined to know the wall down, then maybe they are made to be torn down. At the same time, maybe the emotional walls people put up are meant to be torn down as well. The poem turns into a narrative of a time that the speaker and his neighbor work to repair the gaps created by “something.” All the while, the speaker wonders why they even need a wall if all they have to worry about crossing into each other's property are their pine and apple trees (24-25). The neighbor’s response is that “‘good fences make good neighbors (26)’” presumably because they help to keep people out of each other’s business. This bothers the speaker because he wants the neighbor to at least think about why walls are necessary, but the speaker only repeats himself, solidifying his desire to keep a wall between himself and the speaker and, thus, maintain the emotional barrier between the two.

As the enotes guide (linked below) discusses, it can be said that the author of the poem, Robert Frost, is the speaker because they have many similarities, but more likely Frost and the speaker are two separate entities as Frost seems to be poking fun at or criticizing the speaker for being unable to see problems in his own thinking, namely, that he is just as bad as the neighbor about putting up walls and shouldn't be so quick to judge.

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