illustration of a snowy forest with a cabin in the distance

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

by Robert Frost

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Analysis of the Speaker and Tone in "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"

Summary:

The speaker in "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" is reflective and contemplative, pausing to appreciate the serene beauty of the snowy woods. The tone is calm and introspective, conveying a sense of peaceful solitude. However, there is also an underlying sense of duty and responsibility, as the speaker acknowledges the need to continue their journey despite the allure of the tranquil scene.

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What is the tone of "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"?

The tone of a poem can be characterized as the author's attitude toward their subject. "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" has two quite different possible tones, depending on the reader's interpretation of what is happening in this poem.

One interpretation is that this poem is about a man who takes a moment out of the rush of life and pauses to reflect upon the simple beauty in nature. From this perspective, the snow falling in the woods is calming. The symbolism of the white snow stands in contrast to the "darkest evening of the year," and this sense of serenity and peace is what the speaker is drawn to. The "easy wind and downy flake" give the speaker's mind a reprieve from the man-made village which lies behind or ahead. In this interpretation, the tone is peaceful.

Other readers point to images of darkness that are woven into the poem. The second stanza contains a sense of fear, captured in words such as "frozen" and "darkest." The horse wants to move forward in the third stanza, believing their stopping here is a "mistake." And finally, the final stanza can be interpreted as the speaker's longing for the peace of death. The darkness is "lovely" to him; if he didn't have so many responsibilities to fulfill, perhaps he would simply "sleep," a figurative reference to the long sleep of death. In this interpretation, the tone is subtly somber and forlorn.

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What is the mood of "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"?

In the first stanza of the poem, the mood is one of wonder and admiration because the speaker has stopped in the woods to watch the snow fall. This is clearly an enjoyable and interesting activity for the speaker since there is no other reason for stopping in the middle of the woods, as expressed in the second stanza:

My horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near.

In the third stanza, the mood becomes calm and serene. Alongside the sound of the horse's bells, for example, the only sound that can be heard is that of the "easy wind." This creates a sense of tranquillity which is further reinforced by the closing two lines of the poem in which the speaker comments that there are "miles" before he can sleep. By repeating these lines, the speaker soothes and calms the reader, just as the snowfall seems to soothe and calm his self.

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What is the mood of "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"?

The mood of the poem is quiet and contemplative. The narrator has stopping in the dark evening to admire the snowy woods, and he is far from the village where the owner lives. The village would have lights, horses and pedestrians, movement and sound and life. The woods, by contrast, are dark and quiet, with no sound but that from the narrator's horse:

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
(Frost, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," eNotes eText)

Without these distractions, the narrator can focus on the beauty of the woods and the meaning of his own life, spent bustling around "keeping promises" and "traveling miles." He would rather go into the woods and exist in the quiet and dark, but he knows that soon he must return to his busy life. This moment of contemplation is a small joy among the daily grind of work, personal interaction, and obligation.

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What is the mood of "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"?

In the famous poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost, a rider on a journey stops his horse in somebody else's woods and watches the snow as it falls. Several different moods are evoked in this poem.

The overall mood in the poem is contemplative. The rider has simply stopped his horse in the woods to watch the snow and think. He is unafraid even though it's "the darkest evening of the year," and he is unaffected by the fact that he imagines his horse must think it strange that he is stopping in this isolated location.

The rider is also in an appreciative mood. He recognizes that "the woods are lovely, dark and deep," and he appreciates the silence in which the only sound is the sweep of the snowflakes.

The rider has a mood of responsibility. He is aware of the fact that he cannot stay long to enjoy the lovely silent snowfall, because he has made promises that he must honor and he has miles more to travel before he can lay down in his own bed and sleep.

The rider may feel a touch of envy. He does not own these woods—somebody else does. To appreciate this beautiful spectacle of the falling snow in the dark woods, he has to trespass on another person's property. He may want to linger longer, but besides the obligations that urge him onward, he cannot stay because he does not own this land.

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What is the mood of "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"?

The mood of the poem's narrator is one of longing. He stops in the midst of a busy journey to watch the snow fall. He is in the woods, on horseback, and it is, he says, the "darkest evening of the year." We as readers can imagine the beauty of the white snow falling against the dark woods.

The speaker would love to stay right where he is, watching this beautiful and still scene. However, he must move onward. He has places to be. He really has no time to linger. As he states:

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Using simple language, the poet captures one of those fleeting moments in which, no matter how busy we are, we are so struck by the beauty around us that we feel compelled to stop and appreciate it. The poem captures the longing we all have to be less harried and to experience the world's beauty more fully.

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What is the tone of "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"?

Tone is referring to an author's or speaker's attitude toward a subject. Tone is more often than not conveyed through word choice. Tone should not be confused with mood. Mood refers to the feelings and/or emotions that a piece gives to the reader.

Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" is a wonderful poem. It has a light and happy feel to it largely in part because of Frosts great usage of rhythm, meter, and rhyme; however, the words of the poem do not necessarily convey a happy and light tone.

The speaker is quite candid and frank with the reader. There isn't difficult vocabulary to navigate in the poem. The speaker sticks with simple words and doesn't spend a lot of time embellishing details. We have man that stops by some woods filling with snow, and he thinks they are "lovely, dark, and deep."

The speaker also appears somewhat pensive, philosophical, and thoughtful. Anyone that has "zoned out" at a beautiful nature scene can relate. Sometimes people get lost in thought while viewing beautiful and peaceful nature scenes. Our speaker is experiencing this kind of pensive moment when his mind is clear and in the moment but his subconscious is still working away to tell him that he has "promises to keep." This is when I think the tone takes a shift toward being a blend of weary and resigned. The speaker knows that he has to follow through on his promises, but the repeated line about sleeping sends the message that our traveler is tired.

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What is the tone of "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"?

In "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," Frost's tone is sincere in its appreciation of nature and is full of a gentle longing.

Support for the sincerity of Frost's tone comes from the deep and simple pleasure the speaker takes in the serene beauty of a nighttime snowfall. Although it is unusual for him to stop this way—we know this because his horse thinks "it queer"—the speaker feels compelled to do so by the beauty of the scene. Figurative language that conveys this sincere appreciation of the natural world includes the speaker's description, using imagery, that "the woods are lovely, dark, and deep" and his noting the "easy wind and downy flake."

The tone of longing comes through at the end of the poem, in which the speaker states:

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

And miles to go before I sleep.

The obligations on the speaker tug him gently away from the peace and beauty of the snowy woods. Like all of us, he has duties that keep him from fully enjoying the gift of nature. He is experiencing wonder at the moment but has a tiring journey ahead of him. He would rather stay where he is, but he has to content himself with the fleeting moment in which he can fully enjoy the evening snow. He has to push himself to move, repeating to himself that he has a long way to go, as if to urge himself onward.

Frost's tone is sincere in wanting to convey to the reader the message that it is important to enjoy the simple pleasures of life while we can.

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What is the tone of "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"? Explain.

"Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" is a poem by Robert Frost consisting of four quatrains. It is told from the point of view of a nameless first-person narrator who is riding his horse along a trail through the New England forest on the longest night of the year, i.e. the winter solstice. 

The narrator thinks that he knows the owner of the woodland surrounding the trail but is not absolutely sure, as no houses are visible from where he is currently riding. The reason he is thinking about this is that he is somewhat concerned about trespassing, although as the owner lives in the village he won't see the narrator out in the woods. Thus the first sense we get of tone is that the narrator is concerned with politeness and also a certain scrupulousness.

Next, the narrator thinks his horse may be confused by his stopping with "no farmhouse near" because that is not something the narrator normally does. This emphasizes that the tone of the narrator is polite and considerate, and also slightly tentative.

The bleak landscape and time of year add a melancholic aspect to the tone, further emphasized by the narrator's desire to stop for some reason not specified in the snow on a deserted road. The sense of the beauty of the woods and the narrator's having things to do which prevent him from staying, and the mention of "miles to go before I sleep" add a melancholic flavor to the tone.

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Comment on the tone of "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening."

This question has previously been answered on eNotes.  Here is a link for you:  http://www.enotes.com/stopping-by-woods-snowy-evening/q-and-a/what-do-you-think-about-tone-poem-full-joy-pain-75599

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Comment on the tone of "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening."

Whenever we think about tone we need to remember that we can define it as the attitude a writer takes towards a character, subject or reader. Often tone is partly established through the careful use of diction, so a good way to start identifying tone is by looking at words in the poem relating to the topic and seeing what attitude they convey. This poem describes an incredibly peaceful and tranquil scene, as a man going home stops by some woods and a frozen lake on a dark winter's night. This could easily be described as a scary scene, after all, it is the "darkest evening of the year." However, the word choice gives this poem a peaceful, attractive and relaxing tone. Note how the silence is only broken by the harness bells and the "sweep / Of easy wind and downy flake," which is a very calm, relaxing sound. Likewise, the woods are not described as menacing at all. On the contrary, they are "lovely, dark and deep," and therefore very attractive. All of these examples of word choice help to establish the tranquil, peaceful tone.

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How would you describe the speaker in "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"?

Like the speaker in a dramatic monologue, the narrator in Frost’s poem unintentionally reveals much about himself. He does not identify himself or talk about his life, nor does he explain specifically why he is traveling through the snow on the “darkest evening of the year.” Nevertheless, through his voice, his actions, and his reactions to his surroundings, his character is developed clearly. As the poem progresses through the four brief stanzas, it also becomes clear that the narrator is a man to admire.

A telling detail about the character of the narrator is introduced immediately by his actions in the first stanza. He stops to “watch the woods fill up with snow.” His decision to stop suggests several personal traits. He is aware of his surroundings and sensitive to the rhythms of nature; he finds beauty in the natural world and is attuned to it. The image of snow falling in the woods suggests a silence and serenity that speaks to the spirit rather than the intellect, revealing that the narrator is not self-absorbed with the workings of his own mind. Instead, he is open to the beauty of the moment and takes time to acknowledge and appreciate it. Besides revealing the kind of man the narrator is, the stanza quickly establishes what he is not. He is not a man driven by ambition and the relentless need to hurry through life in pursuit of worldly success. By stopping to experience the beauty of snow falling in the woods, the narrator shows that he values nature and feels comfortable in a quiet, isolated landscape apart from society.

The narrator’s character is developed further in stanzas two and three as he speaks of his horse. His reference to “my little horse” is affectionate, and from his subsequent personification of the “little horse,” it’s easy to infer that he thinks of the horse as his companion, not as a subjugated animal in harness. The narrator and his “little horse” understand each other’s behavior, suggesting they have travelled together many times. Consequently, the narrator knows what his horse must be thinking when they stop for no apparent reason “between the woods and frozen lake.” The bond between the narrator and his horse underscores the narrator’s sensitivity and perception; the affection he feels for his “little horse” reveals a gentle and loving spirit.

As the poem concludes, the first line of the fourth stanza serves to reprise much of what the narrator has revealed about himself in the previous stanzas. “The woods are lovely, dark and deep,” he observes, indicating once again that he is sensitive to the beauty of the natural world and finds wonder in it. The reader can almost hear him sigh as he describes the scene before him. In the final three lines of the stanza, additional traits in his character now become evident. He has “promises to keep” and will travel far through the dark, snowy night, without rest, in order to honor them. A promise is a vow, indicative of commitment; to keep a promise implies dedication and a sense of personal responsibility. “[I have] miles to go before I sleep,” the narrator says, reluctantly turning away from the peaceful scene that invites him to linger. A good man through and through, he can delay no longer in keeping his word.

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How does the speaker communicate in "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"?

The speaker in the poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" is alone with his horse, and there is no dialogue in the poem. However, we can analyze how the speaker communicates his meaning to the reader through his choice of words.

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

The poem begins with the first stanza, quoted above. Here, the speaker reveals that he thinks he knows who owns in the woods where he has stopped for a rest. He also notes that the man "is in the village," where his actual house is located. That means that the man "will not see" the speaker spending time in the woods that belong to this other man. The speaker "watch[es]" as snow piles up in this other man's land. Whatever the man experiences out in these woods will be known by him alone.

The second stanza continues, as the speaker considers how the only other living being in the scene, his horse, may be feeling:

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
The word queer indicates that the speaker knows his actions will seem odd and unusual to his horse. The horse senses that they are away from any civilization to speak of ("without a farmhouse near") in less-than-ideal conditions ("darkest evening of the year"). This wording indicates that the speaker's choice to pause here is unexpected and even somewhat unnatural. The woods, which we know are filling with snow, and the "frozen lake" seem like uninviting landscapes that would not necessarily welcome the man and his horse.
In the third stanza, the speaker continues to observe his horse:
He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound’s the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake.
The horse shakes "his harness bells" to get the speaker's attention and to suggest that there may be "some mistake." This phrasing makes it seem as though the horse is questioning the wisdom of his master's choice. Other than the bells, the woods are silent, as the speaker can only hear "the sweep / Of easy wind and downy flake." The scene is quiet, and its silence could potentially be peaceful, except that the horse's actions suggest that maybe he does not approve of the speaker's decision to stop here. Finally, Frost's speaker concludes the poem with a famous repeated line in the last stanza:
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.
The word choice the speaker uses to describe the woods is ambiguous here. He starts with "lovely," which is obviously a positive descriptor. However, "dark and deep" are more threatening and ominous. He reveals that he has "promises to keep," which is very vague and mysterious. He does not tell us what he needs to do that has taken him to these woods in such unusual circumstances.
He repeats that he has "miles to go before" he can rest. This phrasing and the fact that he repeats the line to close the poem shows that he is burdened with unfinished business, and that seems to be why he is in these woods. The poem ends with this ambiguous note, though, because his words are not precise enough to actually tell us what he needs to do and why it is worth doing in the cold, dark, and snowy conditions.
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In "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost, what does the speaker do?

In "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," by Robert Frost, the speaker of the poem (which of course is not necessarily Frost himself) stops his horse-drawn carriage (or sled, since it is snowing) in front of a forest (woods). 

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

As the last line of the stanza suggests, he simply wants to watch the snow falling on the trees. The second stanza, however, suggests something beyond an idyllic postcard-like winter scene. There is nothing nearby (note the sense of isolation) except a frozen lake, and it is "the darkest evening of the year."

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

The third stanza reinforces the tranquility of this quiet winter scene by giving us the sound of harness bells and a gentle wind blowing the snow. The final stanza adds to the more ominous aspects of this peaceful scene. 

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

While the woods are lovely, they are also "dark and deep." The next word is but, implying that the speaker is somehow attracted to the deepness and darkness of the woods. It is perhaps a figurative longing for something more or even something darker and more sinister than his present life affords. Whatever longing he expresses, fulfilling it is not possible for him, as he has "miles to go" before he can stop to rest. Because the line is repeated, we get the sense that the speaker is weary of the path he is on and knows he cannot do the figurative exploring he longs to do.

What seems to be a simple stop to watch the snow is really a picture of the speaker's desire or attraction for something more and his regret that he can do nothing to satisfy it.

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What does the horse's description reveal about the speaker in "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"?

The presence of the horse reminds us of the obligations that the speaker has yet to fulfill on his life's journey. He still has miles to go before he sleeps, before he comes to the end of his life, and he can only carry on with his journey by horse (i.e., if he keeps his promises). Without the horse, without the obligations that it represents, his life would effectively be at an end.

As the speaker pauses to survey the silent, wintry scene, the little horse shows its impatience by jingling its harness. Somehow, it seems to understand that the journey must continue and that the speaker must keep his promises. It is notable that it is the horse, the nagging sense of obligation that eats away at the speaker, that provides a rare sense of movement to the poem. For the speaker remains inert, seemingly unable to choose whether he should give up the ghost or continue on with his life with all its obligations.

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What does the horse's description reveal about the speaker in "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"?

It seems like the speaker might be just a little lonely based on the way he talks about his horse. He attributes a great deal of understanding to the horse, assuming that the horse is thinking that it is odd for them to be making an unscheduled stop in the woods, nowhere near a farmhouse, and totally alone in the night. Further, when the horse shakes its head, the speaker assumes that the horse is purposely jingling his harness bells in order to question him about the reason for the stop and if he has made some error. Other than the horse, the speaker is alone, and he says that he still has "miles to go" before he can rest. This sounds like a bit of a lonely road he travels, and so his descriptions of the horse make it seem as though he thinks of the horse almost as another person in order to be less lonely.

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