What is the speaker's attitude toward the wall in "Mending Wall"?

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The speaker of Robert Frost's poem entitled "Mending Wall" does not see any need for a wall between his property and that of his neighbor; he also finds walls unnatural.

In the opening line, the speaker suggests that "Something" in nature does not like a wall because it causes the frozen ground to swell under this wall, spilling the "upper boulders" down as they create gaps through which anyone could pass. Here the speaker suggests that it is not natural to have a wall; after all, only man creates borders. For him and his neighbor, repairing this wall is but a "kind of outdoor game" that they annually play as they try to balance the rocks from either side. In another part of the poem, the speaker describes a place where there is no need for a wall:

There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, "Good fences make good neighbors." (ll.23-27)

In his philosophical speculation, the speaker rejects as close-minded what the traditional neighbor says. He describes his neighbor's bringing a stone "grasped firmly by the top/In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed" (ll.39-40) to fight. This man, he adds, "moves in [the] darkness" (l. 41). of blind tradition because he "will not go behind his father's saying" (l.43). Instead, he habitually follows the tradition of repairing the stone wall. Thus entrenched in the routine of repairing the wall, the man repeats automatically the old saying of his father's, "Good fences make good neighbors" (l.45).

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The narrator does not like walls, which is clear from the first line:

Something there is that doesn't love a wall (1)

He goes on to give examples of what nature wants to do to the wall, to spill the stones and make large gaps in the wall, so we can infer that walls are unnatural as far as the narrator is concerned, actually against nature. 

He goes on to point out the foolishness of the wall, to no purpose, since there are no cows to keep on one side of it and since his apple trees are not going to try to interfere with his neighbor's pine trees, by straying over and eating the pine cones. 

When he points this out to his neighbor, his neighbor responds that

Good fences make good neighbors (27)

He tries to point out that he would want to know the purpose of the wall before building one, what it was meant to keep out and whom it might offend in its building. But no matter what he says, his neighbor takes refuge in the same line.

The title is meant to be a somewhat ironic play on words, since in mending the wall with his neighbor, the narrator is contributing to an endeavor that is not mending anything, but that is more likely to promote bad feelings and offend nature itself.

 

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In the poem "Mending Wall" by Robert Frost, how does the speaker feel about the gaps in the wall?

The speaker seems to feel that, because the gaps keep forming, there is some element in the world "that doesn't love a wall." Nature "sends the frozen-ground-swell under it" so that the rocks on top spill off and land on the ground. Hunters and their dogs, also, must make some gaps as well, as the narrator says he frequently has to make repairs when they come through. However, he says,

The gaps, I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.

So, each spring, the narrator and his neighbor pick a day to walk the line of the wall and "set the wall between" them again, repairing these gaps that appear throughout the year. They "wear [their] fingers rough with handling" the stones, some of them quite large, and this is frustrating, it seems, for the narrator, because "we do not need the wall." He reiterates to his neighbor, "Something there is that doesn't love a wall, / That wants it down." Nevertheless, his neighbor insists, time and time again, that "Good fences make good neighbors," and the narrator carries on, really, only because that is what the two have always done. He helps to repair the gaps because it is routine and keeps the peace.

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In the poem "Mending Wall" by Robert Frost, how does the speaker feel about the gaps in the wall?

In the poem, the speaker is unhappy about the gaps; the reason for this is that, once the gaps are discovered, he and his neighbor must work together again to put up the wall that separates their properties.

The speaker doesn't specifically care how the gaps are made, whether it is the work of hunters or of nature; he just doesn't think a wall is necessary between neighbors. He states that his neighbor grows pines, while he grows apples; meanwhile neither of them raise cattle, so there isn't any fear of cows venturing onto the other's property.

We get the idea that the speaker thinks the gaps a nuisance of sorts; he would rather leave them alone than decide which fallen boulders belong to whose side of the property. To the speaker, the wall is a waste of time, as he and his neighbor aren't enemies:

Before I built a wall I’d ask to know/ What I was walling in or walling out,/ And to whom I was like to give offense.

The speaker disagrees with his neighbor's belief that "Good fences make good neighbors."

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How do the characters in the poem seem to feel about walls in "Mending Wall"?

The speaker does not like walls because he doesn’t feel that they are needed, but his neighbor prefers him.

When the speaker says, “Something there is that doesn't love a wall” (line 1), he is describing the fact that walls seem to deteriorate over time, and have to be maintained.  He does not see the need to repair the wall between his far and his neighbor’s.  After all, neither of them has livestock.

He is all pine and I am apple orchard.

My apple trees will never get across 

And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him. (lines 24-6)

The neighbor just grunts that, “Good fences make good neighbors” (line 27).  He believes that if your neighbor sticks on his side of the fence while you stick to yours, there will not be conflict between you.

The gruff neighbor prefers his own personal space.  He does not seem inclined to be friendly or make overtures.  The speaker, on the other hand, both decries the need for maintaining the wall and the symbolic isolation it represents.

While most of us agree that it is important to be a good neighbor, the definition of such a thing is widely open to interpretation.  As we see in this poem, two neighbors can have widely different variations on the concept.

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