Student Question

In "Mending Wall," how does Robert Frost portray the hunters?

Expert Answers

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In Frost's poem "Mending Wall," the speaker says that nature does not love a stone wall and will gradually tear it down. Ice creates gaps in the stones and the unfreezing topples them from the wall. 

The speaker then mentions that there are also man-made reasons a wall falls apart. He has had to replace stones in his wall that have been torn apart by hunters in their desperate attempts to catch their prey. The speaker says that "they [the hunters] would have the rabbit out of hiding,/To please the yelping dogs." This line suggests that the hunters are cruel because they only want to kill the rabbit so their hunting dogs are happy and that they are casually indifferent to the hard work of keeping the wall maintained. The hunters do not think about their destruction of the wall; they simply focus on their immediate pleasure. Frost's characterization of these hunters suggests that they are representative of all mankind. Just as nature works to destroy the wall, men destroy the wall - for the speaker, a necessary thing - through ignorance and cruelty. 

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