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Mending Wall by Robert Frost
Transcript of Mending Wall by Robert Frost
- This poem is an allegory, which means that it possesses a hidden meaning, and therefor making the whole poem a very long metaphor.
- It uses literary devices such as metaphors, and personification.
- As mentioned before, this poem is an allegory, therefor, the whole poem all represent a general metaphor.
- Personifications shows up many times in the poem, examples are:
Nature: Nature cannot feel, therefor the word "love" used in the first line is a personification.
Apple Tree: cannot move to the other side of the wall and eat the cone.
- Mom: A Scottish school teacher
- Dad: A New England journalist
- Tried school, but usually dropped out
- Had tiny jobs here and there
- Moved to New Hampshire and was a teacher
- Attended Lawerce High School and graduated a year ahead of his class
- Attended Dartmouth College, but dropped out
Life After Becoming a Poet
-Moved to England in 1912 where he met a publisher (moved back to US in 1915)
- Won 22+ Awards for his poems
- Was US Poet Laureate in 1958-1959
- His father, while poor, managed to design a flying machine that was able to fly 120 feet in 12 seconds. This device is named Frost Airship Glider.
- However, after a storm destroyed all of his inventions, he was too poor to repay for them, therefor he died poor and
Stanzas 1 and 2
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
Stanzas 3 and 4
The gaps I mean, No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
Stanzas 5 and 6
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
"Stay where you are until our backs are turned!"
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
Mending Wall by Robert Frost
Stanzas 7 and 8
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, "Good fences make good neighbors."
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
"Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
"That wants it down." I could say "Elves" to him,
Stanzas 10 and 11
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
1 - 4: Something is referring to a force of nature, it is being personified as an entity who sends sells under walls. Due to the swells, boulders from the wall would usually fall and create gaps, and therefor need of repair.
5 - 9: The "hunters" are another entity that destroys the walls, in order to get to the rabbits who dwells under it.
10 - 15
Remember, this poem is still describing the gap, so "them" is often referred to the gaps.
"Spring mending - time" is the time the two neighbor fix the gaps within the walls.
Mending: Fixing (Amend)
At this point, the poem is describing the boulders, some are loaves, some are huge, and all of the boulders would roll off. The dialogue is referring to the boulders.
The speaker and his neighbor hurts from it, and placing walls
is just like a game like tennis.
"It comes to little more", means that there is not much significance to it.
Loaves: Pleural of loaf, rock that shape in a long, bread-like shape
The speaker believes that since his
apple tree would not eat his pines,
there is no need for a wall, however
his neighbors only responded with a
"good fences make good neighbors."
However, due to the strange simplicity,
the speaker is confused about why fences make good neighbors.
"Good fences make good neighbors" is a famous proverb. Although the phrase possesses many different versions of interpretations, in the context of this poem, it means that fences can allow neighbors to have their own share of privacy, therefor becoming good friends.
The speaker is confused as what the
phrase means, he thinks that walls are
used to keep cows from going on a
rampage, but they do not own cows.
He then says that if he were to build a
wall, he needs to have a reason for it,
and if the wall could possibly offend
Now, he wants to tells is neighbor that it was elves that destroyed walls, but he knows that it's not elves. Then he sees his neighbor come by, looking like a savage. Also, he does has a kind of a dark aura, no like the shades under a tree, rather, he is the shade.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."
The reader then realized that this neighbor is very traditional, for everything he said relates back to what his father used to say.
Analysis: Part 1
- This poem relates to WW1
- First, this poem is released in 1914, the same
year which WW1 started.
- However, WW1 started due to many reasons such as nationalism, militarism, and assassinations.
- This poem describes a neighbor, who possesses a dark aura, and is very traditional, and would not see past his own traditions.
- The wall is often broken, and would need constant fixing during spring.
- In WW1, each countries are very close to each other (Europe), this would relate to the neighbors. Also, due to constant allies and treaties being made, the "wall", referred to the borders of the countries, are constantly broken.
- Also, the dark aura the neighbor possesses could be refer to militarism, meaning that all the countries would start an arm race, to see which of their military inventions suppresses the others. The darkness is referred to the military equipments.
Analysis: Part 2
- The author could be related to the speaker of the poem, this is because, being American, America was very focused in the World War, and sometimes believed that America should not enter. This could be the earliest reaction of the actual war.
WW1 vs Cold War
- The wall may symbolize the continuous deviation
between Russia and USA
- Both Russia and USA faces the fears of nuclear wars, and the fear could be resembled to the dark aura.
- And, both Russia and USA was very isolated from one
another, and that could be the wall dividing between the two countries.
The three theme that the author
established with his poems are: