Robert Frost is often thought of as the quintessential American poet. He pairs calm, serene American settings with calm, serene feelings of his narration. His poems capture both ordinary human experiences and the imagination, in addition to creating unforgettable rhythms and sounds in the colloquial language of New England. “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” is one of his best known works, and explores the theme of obligations versus man’s desire for peace of mind. While the narrator in the story wants to stop and admire the world around him and the peace he finds in nature, he knows he has obligations to keep so he must move on. This is a common experience many students will recognize, as they also have obligations that keep them from doing the things they really want to do.
Teaching Robert Frost Poems: Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening Analysis
T - TITLE
P - PARAPHRASE
C - CONNOTATION
A - ATTITUDE / TONE
S - SHIFT
T - TITLE
T - THEME
The title sounds like the narrator is in the woods on a snowy night. Maybe it's Christmas time?
The narrator stops in the woods of a local villager. He thinks his horse wonders why they stopped in the middle of nowhere, because it’s the darkest night of the year. The horse shakes his harness, as if confused. The only other sound is the wind and light snow falling. The narrator observes the beauty of the woods, and the peace and dreamlike calm they give him. He knows he must move on because he still has further to go before he can rest.
The narrator uses words such as “without a farmhouse”, “frozen lake”, “darkest evening”, “easy wind” and “downy flake” to create an image of his isolation in the middle of a winter night. He admires the beauty of the “lovely, dark and deep” woods but pulls himself away, noting that “sleep” or peace of mind, can’t happen quite yet.
The narrator’s tone is gentle, contemplative, and calm as he discusses the cold winter night and his horse’s reaction until the shift, where he sounds resigned.
The shift occurs when the narrator snaps out of his reverie and realizes that as nice as it might be to stay in the woods and admire their beauty, he needs to keep going.
The title is about a narrator stopping in the woods and admiring them on a dark winter’s night. He wants to stay in the woods, but he knows he has obligations to keep.
The theme of the poem is the desire for peace of mind, which can be found in nature, but is often interrupted by the daily obligations of life.