Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
There are many things to look at when one tries to analyze a poem. Once he/she knows what the story is about, they could look at the speaker’s point of view, along with many other things. For Example: setting, language, figures of speech, symbols, atmosphere and mood, characterization, theme and conflicts are just some of the other methods that could be used. Finally, the analyzer should say what the whole poem’s underlying meaning is.
Robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening is about a person the speaker, who stops near the woods when it is snowing out to take a break and look around. He notices how beautiful it is to look at the snow falling in such a peaceful way out of the dark sky.
The first stanza can be interpreted in different ways. He thinks he knows the person’s woods that he is stopping in, even though he is not near the village where the house is. “He will not see me stopping here, to watch his woods fill up with snow.” The speaker might be a little concerned about who is watching him, because he does not want to have people talk about him in anything other then a masculine way. If he is seen watching the snowfall, then he might be considered by some to be a little less of a man. The speaker just wants to sit and watch the snow fill up someone’s woods.
The reader could interpret the second stanza as a continuation of guilt that the speaker feels about enjoying the natural beauty of snow. “My little horse must think it queer,” he even thinks that his horse thinks he has something wrong with him. His horse must wonder why they are stopping on “the darkest evening of the year” when it is cold and snowing outside. After all, they did stop in the middle of the woods, with nothing else around them to look at the snow.
The speaker allows the reader to see more of his “weird” tendencies with the third stanza. The horse wonders if there is something wrong by shaking his harness asking, “if there is some mistake?” Then the speaker talks more about his non-masculine ways when he says, “The only other sound’s the sweep, of easy wind and downy flake.” He is giving himself away and he might not even know it, talking about “easy wind and downy flake.” Typical women would say those words.
Another word that women would typically say is “lovely.” “The woods are lovely,” he is describing something as lovely. That is not something a man would do. Then he makes up an excuse for him having to leave and not be able to enjoy the view. “But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.” He might finally be realizing that he is starting to go a little soft, so he does not want to enjoy the view anymore. Just in case someone happens to see him in, he does not want anyone to know that he enjoys nature.
In this poem, the speaker is implying that he is scared of the public’s perception of him. He does not want to be known as anything other than a man. He hopes that nobody saw him stopping that night, because then it could arouse suspicion of what he truly is. That is why he does not stay and watch the snow longer.