Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening Study Guide
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening: Themes
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening: Characters
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening: Analysis
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening: Quotes
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening: Critical Essays
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening: Questions & Answers
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening: Introduction
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening: Biography of Robert Frost
Introduction to Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
“Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” was composed by American poet Robert Frost in 1922 and published in his 1923 volume, New Hampshire. The poem takes the perspective of a speaker who, riding home on a dark winter’s night, stops to gaze into a snow-filled wood he describes as “lovely, dark, and deep.” The speaker’s horse is confused and perhaps troubled by his decision to pause for no apparent reason. Indeed, the ambiguity of the speaker’s fascination is one of the richest aspects of the poem. Lured by the beautiful depths of the woods, the speaker ultimately reminds himself of the distance he must yet travel and of his “promises to keep.”
The poem is written in iambic tetrameter, with a distinctive AABA rhyme scheme in which the B rhyme in each stanza dictates the A rhyme of the succeeding stanza. This braid-like effect echoes Dante’s terza rima form and gives the poem a repetitive, incantatory tone that reflects the speaker’s rapt state.
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.