Introduction to Mending Wall

“Mending Wall” is a poem by Robert Frost. It was originally published in Frost’s 1914 poetry collection, North of Boston, and it has since become one of Frost’s most frequently anthologized works. Frost’s native New England vernacular adds character and authenticity to the poem, and the philosophical musings of the speaker form a contrast to his humorous and almost conversational tone, rendered in a flexible blank verse.

The primary focus of “Mending Wall” is human connection. The titular wall is a paradoxical symbol, as it brings the narrator and his neighbor together but also separates them. The speaker seems to resent the wall for the arbitrary distance it creates between him and his neighbor, who insists that “good fences make good neighbors.” However, despite his claims to the contrary, the speaker also seems to value the wall, as it is on his initiative that he and his neighbor get together to rebuild it. “Mending Wall” ultimately acknowledges the necessity of boundaries in maintaining civility.

A Brief Biography of Robert Frost

Robert Frost (1874–1963) was an American poet who has achieved unprecedented name recognition in the United States. His best-known works include “The Road Not Taken” and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” both of which have become synonymous with the genre of nature poetry. Frost, though, was much more than just a nature poet. “Home Burial,” for example, deals with overwhelming grief after the death of a child. “Fire and Ice,” while somewhat tongue-in-cheek, considers the apocalyptic end of the world. And some of his poems, such as “The Oven Bird,” are a complex treatment of a difficult rhyme scheme, proving that Frost could match anyone in form. Furthermore, Frost helped form the conception of Americans as tough, self-sufficient individuals. This New England native, often called the “Icon of Yankee Values,” remains an essential American poet.

Frequently Asked Questions about Mending Wall

Mending Wall

The main conflict in Robert Frost's "Mending Wall" is between the two neighbors regarding the wall between their properties. The speaker questions the need to continue to maintain the wall; neither...

Latest answer posted January 8, 2021, 12:09 pm (UTC)

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Mending Wall

The wall in Robert Frost's "Mending Wall" separates the neighbor's property of pine trees from the speaker's apple orchard. The speaker observes that one does not need a wall to separate these two...

Latest answer posted January 8, 2021, 11:50 am (UTC)

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Mending Wall

The speaker in "Mending Wall" describes the yearly practice of mending the wall as a sort of "out-door game" he plays with his neighbor. Although it is the speaker who reaches out to his neighbor...

Latest answer posted January 8, 2021, 12:47 pm (UTC)

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Mending Wall

We see the neighbor in "Mending Wall" entirely through the speaker's eye, so we have only his perceptions to rely on. Initially, the speaker seems to have an amiable attitude towards his neighbor....

Latest answer posted January 8, 2021, 11:18 am (UTC)

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Mending Wall

Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall” is composed of forty-five lines of blank verse, without stanza breaks. Blank verse is, quite simply, unrhymed iambic pentameter. It is a popular poetic form in the...

Latest answer posted January 7, 2021, 5:17 pm (UTC)

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Mending Wall

"Mending Wall" offers two divergent viewpoints about walls. The first is that walls "make good neighbors." In other words, walls are tools of demarcation. They apportion property in clear ways....

Latest answer posted January 7, 2021, 1:47 pm (UTC)

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Mending Wall

Robert Frost opens his poem “Mending Wall” with Something there is that doesn't love a wall. “Something,” among other things, is a personification of nature. It keeps cleaving the wall, despite...

Latest answer posted January 7, 2021, 4:03 pm (UTC)

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Mending Wall

Elves are small, often mischievous supernatural creatures from folklore that are known to cause damage. They often become a scapegoat when things go wrong. In "Mending Wall," the elves are a...

Latest answer posted January 7, 2021, 12:51 pm (UTC)

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Mending Wall

Robert Frost's "Mending Wall" depicts the titular wall as something which initially brings the two neighbors together but ultimately drives them apart. The wall brings the two neighbors together...

Latest answer posted January 7, 2021, 11:57 am (UTC)

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Mending Wall

"Mending Wall" tells a story, so it fits the description of a narrative poem. It differs from a typical lyrical poem—which has a primary goal of expressing an individual emotion—in being chiefly...

Latest answer posted January 7, 2021, 11:49 am (UTC)

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Mending Wall

The characters in "Mending Wall" are the speaker and his neighbor, two property owners whose sections of land share a border marked by a stone wall that must be repaired every spring. Although it...

Latest answer posted January 7, 2021, 12:25 pm (UTC)

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Mending Wall

In Robert Frost's poem "Mending Wall," spring is "mending-time" for the two neighbors on either side of the wall. The wall requires patching up every year, with new stones needing to be added or...

Latest answer posted January 7, 2021, 12:30 pm (UTC)

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Mending Wall

The statement "good fences make good neighbors" has several meanings. Most often, it is taken as a statement or metaphor about boundaries: the idea that human relationships thrive when people have...

Latest answer posted January 7, 2021, 12:05 pm (UTC)

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Mending Wall

In Robert Frost's poem "Mending Wall," the speaker examines and questions the annual tradition of meeting his neighbor at the boundary between their properties to repair the wall that runs along...

Latest answer posted January 7, 2021, 11:48 am (UTC)

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Mending Wall

The irony in the poem is that the wall is, on a practical level, pointless but serves a social function. Every spring, the speaker and his neighbor meet to repair the stone wall that separates...

Latest answer posted January 6, 2021, 11:36 am (UTC)

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Mending Wall

In "Mending Wall," the speaker describes participating in the annual spring ritual of joining his neighbor to repair the stone wall that runs between their properties. The speaker embodies modern...

Latest answer posted January 6, 2021, 11:51 am (UTC)

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Mending Wall

The mending wall serves as an extended metaphor for unexamined traditions. The two farmers have had this stone wall between their properties for a long time, even though the wall is unnecessary,...

Latest answer posted January 6, 2021, 12:05 pm (UTC)

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Mending Wall

The speaker and his neighbor meet each spring to repair and reconstruct a wall that divides their properties. The speaker himself doesn't really see the purpose in this ongoing effort; after all,...

Latest answer posted January 6, 2021, 11:13 am (UTC)

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Mending Wall

The wall being mended in Robert Frost's "Mending Wall" is made of stones and runs along the boundary between the properties of the speaker and his neighbor. The speaker, with lighthearted...

Latest answer posted January 6, 2021, 11:16 am (UTC)

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Summary