Have you ever taken the time to stop and just watch the snow fall from a cold winters night? In the poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost, he did just that. Not only is this poem about that, but there is also something deeper, as this poem can be read on many different levels. Has this traveler made promises that he no longer wants to keep? While deep into the snowy woods, the man has to make the decision to keep on going or stop and live the way he has always dreamed of.
This poem may seem short and simple, but the implications beneath the story are much greater. In the first stanza, Robert Frost goes on to explain that the man is stopping in the woods to watch the snow fall, but he knows that the land he is stopping on is owned by another man. He goes on to assume that the owner lives in the village and will not see him standing out there. Could this be some sort of death wish? In the second stanza, the horse that the man had ...view middle of the document...
Is this his way of describing his own life? Has it been lovely, but also dark and deep? Monterio goes on to say “To say that the woods are 1) lovely, 2) dark, and 3) deep differs considerably from claiming that they are lovely in that they are dark and deep” (38). The man goes on to say that he has promises to keep. The poem does not go into detail with what these may be. The promise could be to his family, friends, job, himself, or many other things. With that being said, he needs to continue on to fulfill those promises. Frost made the last two lines very important as they say “And miles to go before I sleep” (lines: 15-16) as if they are being echoed in the woods. This is the man saying that he has more life to live before he dies, so he is trying to decide if he wants to slow down and watch the beauty of nature around him, or does he want to continue on with his job of being a man and going on with his business. This decision is not about actual death, but as one critic states “It is the little death of abnegation to which we sentence ourselves daily because of what we owe to those who depend on us, and to goals we have accepted and which mandate the sacrifice of present pleasuring prospects so emollient to the abraided spirit” (Henry 38).
The use of the words “queer” and “lovely” seem to break the pre notion that the traveler is a manly man. This man could have made promises to someone that he will take after his father and become the manly man that he was, but in all reality, the traveler just wants to observe the beauty of nature. Unfortunately, the man can not just gaze at nature, he has to keep his promise and continue on with his life as being someone he is not, and that is a manly type of guy. Although this man may not know it, he is a victim of himself and a victim of society. He was told to be a certain way and that is the way he is going to act, even if that is not who he really is.
This poem gives us a sense of understanding that a man is not only stopping in the woods to watch them fill up with snow, but that he wants to become someone that he is not. The traveler fears what society will think of him if he breaks his promises, so he continues on with his journey as a man who is over taken by the idea of what manliness actually is.