Download Mending Wall Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Structure of the Text

Story and Situation: “Mending Wall” takes place on the border between two neighboring properties. Passing hunters and winter weather have destroyed sections of the border wall, and now that it is springtime, the two landowners come together to mend it. The two men—the speaker of the poem and his neighbor—walk along the wall on their respective sides, replacing the toppled stones. The speaker questions the wall’s purpose and remarks to his neighbor that there is no real need for it. The speaker has only apple orchards, the neighbor only pine trees. The neighbor, however, cannot be swayed from his traditional stance. His repeated response is a saying of his father’s: “Good fences make good neighbors.”

Form and Structure: “Mending Wall” consists of forty-six lines of blank verse without stanza breaks. Frost occasionally uses enjambment, but typically he sculpts his phrases to fit within the pentametric line. Though the iambic rhythms are largely precise, Frost sometimes uses metrical substitutions for effect. For example, the first line begins with a trochaic substitution that emphasizes the first syllable of “Something.” The poem combines the rhythmic precision of blank verse with the plainspokenness of...

(The entire section is 395 words.)