In his poem” Mending Wall”, Robert Frost questions the value of the wall separating between two neighbors.
The poem starts with the persona revealing the internal conflict in his mind. Although he insists on the existence of the wall that is separating him and his neighbor and he mends it all the time, yet “Something there is that doesn’t have a wall”.
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Nature also refuses the wall, it” sends the frozen ground- swell under it, And spills the upper boulders in the sun”. In addition, “The work of hunters is another thing/They would have the rabbit out of hiding/To please the yelping dogs”.
Despite the persona’s inner refusal of the wall, he meets with his neighbour in the spring in order to mend the wall. However, through the process of mending the wall, revelation crosses his mind, and in a moment of insight, he realizes “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall/That wants it down!” He cannot find any reason in the existence of the wall, “Why do they make good neighbours? / Isn’t it Where there are cows? /But here there are no cows”. Therefore, he stops mending the wall, but he fails to convince his neighbour to stop as well. The neighbour continues mending the wall, resembling an” old-stone savage” who will never give up tradition, but he only repeats blindly his father’s saying: “Good fences make good neighbors “.
In this poem, Frost is rejecting walls and barriers that separate people from each other. He is for love, intimacy and brotherhood between people. He considers the gaps in the wall that was made by nature as positive things, because they admit people to pass through them” abreast “, so they can be able to face each other and become closer. This stands in contrast with the wall which functions as a separator of people, to the extent that when the persona and his neighbor were mending it, they did not want to face each other; instead, they preferred to “stay where you are until our backs are turned “.
This rejection of the wall is further emphasized by the use of puns in the phrase “spring mending-time “. The two neighbours meet at the time of spring in order to mend the wall. However, since spring is the time of joy and love, so nature destroys the wall in order for spring to mend the hearts of the people separated behind this wall.
The refusal of the wall can be also interpreted in terms of breaking this tradition since there is no logical reason in keeping it. Thus, the neighbor who insists on sticking to tradition is portrayed as an “old-stone savage” who “moves in darkness” of his ignorance and stubbornness. “He will not go behind his father’s saying “, and he blindly repeats this outdated clichï¿½: “Good fences make good neighbors “. This clichï¿½ represents a contrast that doesn’t make sense. For good neighbors are made by habitual communication and closeness, not by being completely isolated from each other, especially by ” good fences ” which in this case can never be considered as good.
The wall itself hides under it “the frozen-ground-swell” which symbolizes something horrible beneath the wall. In order for this thing to vanish, the wall has to be removed. This wall is meant for the protection of the weakest, so it hides under it the weakness of human beings.
“Frozen” here is contrasted with the “sun” that spreads light and beauty over the place when the “upper boulders” of the fence are split. Even the title of the poem has a paradoxical meaning. The “wall” stands for the separation and isolation of people, while “mending” stands for communication and love between people.
Since Frost is calling for breaking traditions in this poem, therefore he wrote it in an untraditional blank verse. He started the poem with a monologue declaring that” Something there is that doesn’t love a wall”. Then moved to action, describing the destruction of the wall by the” frozen-ground-swell”,” the work of hunters”, the dogs and rabbits. Then he used a dialogue between the persona and his neighbour while mending the wall, discussing their ideas about it. In the end, it turns out to be a wise and beautiful conversation.
Though he used the form of blank verse, which has no rhyme scheme, the poem is full of internal rhyme instead. The repetition of several phrases achieves this, such as: “seen the made/ heard them made”, ” set the wall between us/ keep the wall between us to show marks, ” where there are cows/ here there are no cows” and ” walling in/ walling out”. There is also the use of consonance in some words such as “hand/armed “and “moves/seems “.
In short, Frost succeeded in delivering his message, in making us think about the barriers that hinder humankind from communicating. He got his message delivered subtly and in a beautiful way either by his ideas, questions, and symbols or by the easy conversational form that he used in his poem.
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