To me, the man whose house is in the village is representing Jesus Christ. He is stopping to admire God's creation just for a second. He wishes he could have more time but he has to go on in life, because he has 'miles to go before I sleep'. Sleep meaning death.
So stopping by woods on a snowy evening is enjoying what God has given you before you die.
I love this interpretation! This poem has been interpreted in so many ways, mostly dark ways. It's refreshing to see such a joyful way to look at it. I have read many interpretations but I like this one the best.
Notice also that line 3 of each verse rhymes with lines 1,2, and 4 of the following verse... until you get to the last verse. Speculations that I have encountered are that Frost chose to end the poem in the powerful repetition because his other choice would have been to loop back to the beginning by rhyming the third line of the final verse with lines 1,2, and 4 of the first verse. It is possible he could not find an appropriate line to accomplish that task. I do love his final choices though.
This indeed is an incredable poem! It is an ageless masterpiece that seems to be like good wine. I do agree with all that my frind Yacov has said except, 'It is technically flawless.' For it to have been technically flawless the last word of the third line in the final verse would have to be replaced by changing sleep to rest or another appropriate work. That however does not take away from the poem because no one but Frost would know it he wanted the poem to have been technically flawless. My belief is that he decided to end the poem with a powerful repetition instead of keeping to the form of the first three virse which has the first, second and forth lines rhyming.
It is indeed a great poem.
In my view, this is Frost's best poem and one of the greatest one-paged poems in the English language. It is technically flawless; I cannot add or subtract a single word without harming the poem. Perhaps many scholars have overanalyzed it, reading too much into it. As far as I can see, there are two legitimate interpretations. One is that a man stops to rest by snowy woods, where it is profoundly and stirringly quiet. It's the 'darkest evening of the year' - which here can be taken literally. 'The woods are lovely, dark and deep' simply means what is says - namely, that they are dark and deep (you can see it, can't you?) , and that the speaker is stirred by the magical scenery. But the speaker can't stay for as long as he'd like, for he has pressing responsibilities.
A second interpretation hinges on 'The woods are lovely, dark and deep'. Rather than the line simply describing a beautiful scene, it also suggests a contemplation of suicide. I'm aware of some other interpretations, but they seem a stretch to me.
Some people believe Robert Frost's 'Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening' is about a person stopping to enjoy nature. However, I do not believe this is the case. We are told that it is, 'The darkest evening of the year.' This might mean that it is the winter solstice or it is literally the darkest night so far this year. In the title of the poem, Frost tells us that it is a snowy evening. We are also told that it is windy and that the snow is deep in the woods. Next, Frost describes a frozen lake. Therefore, I do not believe this person has stopped to enjoy the view of the woods on a windy, snowy, cold, and dark evening. I believe Frost's poem is about a person stopping to answer the call of nature (crap) . The person is clearly in a hurry to arrive at his next destination because he has made some unknown promise that must be kept and apparently, the person has not slept in a while. I believe there is no other logical reason for this person to have stopped. My belief is further supported by Frost's description of the person being familiar enough with the area that the person thinks he or she knows who the owner of the woods is. The horse is confused by the sudden stop far from any farmhouse. The person perceives the woods as a place of privacy to take relief because the woods are 'lovely, dark and deep'. The person is afraid to leave the horse because it might leave on its own. The horse has a harness that leads me to believe that it is pulling a wagon. The person cannot take the horse over to the woods because the wagon might become stuck in the deep snow. In conclusion, I believe that the person is nearing home but is too far away and can no longer wait to crap. The person is hoping, 'He will not see me stopping here'.
I am a bit perplexed how deep (and strange) the meanings sought in this wonderfully simple poem Some of you see death, sex and so on.
I just think that only persons with a poet's soul would stop on a snowy evening at the woods to indulge in the beauty of it all. I think I have had experienced similar magical moments of amazing beauty, when the soul comes really to the surface to just to enjoy and it is perhaps such a moment that Robert wants to share. If these moments occur, you indeed ask yourself why not everybody else is coming to see this, but you typically have these moments all alone. The magic of that beautiful moment is somehow a bit disturbed by the horse that clearly does not share the sense of beauty. He resists for a while and tries to incorporate the horse's impatience in the beauty of the scene but finally the reasoning mind wins over the soul's deep desire to savour more of these amazingly beautiful sights, sounds and smells of falling snow in the woods and he moves on giving in to the reasoning mind, the reasoning mind.
Don't let your reasoning mind analyse the beauty of this poem finidng extremely deep meanings that are not there. Just let your soul drift in your imagination to the snowy woods and enjoy and relive in the moste poetic way, together with the poet these magical moments.
I don't really read poetry, but a line from this came to mind as I was brushing my teeth. I thought I'd see how the rest of the poem goes. So here's my attempt at interpretation.
I think this poem is about entering ones private world which often does work as a temptation. In the first paragraph Frost sets this up in the absence of the owner of the woods. Yet it is not only that he is absence but that fact that the traveler is aware of it. Privacy is not only ones aloneness, but is the absence of another.
This is continued in the next paragraph where the horse wonders at what his owner is doing. One other aspect of being alone is not being understood-to be alone in ones own mind whether this results from the lack of connection with another human or an animal.
The last paragraph is the resistance to temptation of entering one's own world even though it has many beauties. The promises to keep are not necessarily only those to others, but to oneself. The fulfillment of promises, of life, entails action, so he resists as he has 'miles to go' before he sleeps.
Dear all participants and scholars
I am very much pleased on knowing diverse opinion and literary appreciation made up on Robert frost’s poem: Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. Generally, this discussion forum I found to be very good from critical perspective. My analysis is in two perspectives; one on its structure and another on its interpretation in terms of construing the subtleties: beauty of snowfall or contemplation of death of character, as under:
My first argument is the oddity about the poem, which is its almost rhythmic chant. The rhyme scheme follows the pattern A, A, B, A (exception in last stanza) coupled with the meter, iambic tetrameter, that give the reader a sense of labored marching. This technique is odd when considered by itself. However, when it is put with other underlying subtleties, it becomes clear that Frost’s poem is not about the beauty of a snowfall, it is about the main character’s contemplation of death.
Imagery is perhaps the second most notable element that gives credence to the subtext of death within Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. When first reading Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, the line, “The darkest evening of the year, ” fits well into the description of snowy evening; the stark contrast of the black night with the white snow. In spite of this, when one looks at the poem in terms of the central character’s death, the line takes on a whole new meaning. For example, for the traveling man, this night is the darkest of his life.
As Hira Ali said, 'sleep' in the last line means death... Though this world has a lot of beauties which seduces us; all of us has a great duty in this world, to reach the sublim... the horse mentioned remember this fact, we are passengers, we should go! ! ! ! !
It really arouses my soul
this first couple times i read this poem i thought of the words and robert frost to me used alot of symbolism. that what he wrote to me compares temptation. and that the poem is talking about how he wants something a woman maybe and he's tempted by but cant bring himself to pursue what he wants and maybe he made a promise that he cant yet fulfill and he has a many things he has to do in order to keep his promise.
Thanks Gracie Rossi. I appreciate your comments. Yes, the poet indeed finds the wood lovely. He does yearn for it, no matter it is dark and wintery. May be he loves the snow too. A man's horse sense would of course not allow him to waste time in such a place. I would be overating sexuality if I agreed with Tori Thompson.
I took this poem at first read to be an allusion to the contemplation of infidelity. Women can be thought of as trees: from us come alternately warmth and shade, fresh air and smoke. Passing by another man's real estate a ways away from his main place of residence could be tantamount to meeting another man's wife/woman when that man lives on the other side of town, or is out of town. His 'little horse' in want of a farmhouse could be his penis, if the author is a married/taken man himself, or his conscience, as our conscience carries us to wear we ought to go. The shaking of the bells, a crass sound compared to wind through trees and over snow drifts, could be the juxtaposition of right with temptation. After a momentary debate, the author sticks to his 'promises' and does not give in to the temptation of admiring the 'lovely, dark, and deep' woods. Sleep could be death. So the author vows to resist temptation for the duration of his marriage/relationship, till death they part.
The wood, to me, represents that sacred silence and peace harboured in your soul that is untainted by life and reality. The place where you long to take heed, indulge and wonder but proves too achingly difficult because the duties of life soon jolts your horse! There is no way one could remain forever in the depth and loveliness the wood provides because simply, life is too cruel. However poetry, music and art stand to remind you that the wood does exist, and is available for you when you allow yourself a respite from harsh reality...and perhaps that is enough :) thank you Mr Frost.
Dark temptation. The kind that makes the mind wonder,
'what if I just reach out and grab.., that whirling blade of sharpened teeth;
what if I take that lofty leap; or wade in blindly to the briney deep.
The woods are empty, dark and deep-not a soul arround
to record my creep-into the mist without a sound.
The promisises that I have to keep
are what bind me to this life so cheap
and what stay my hand, my step, my plunge;
postpone.., for now, my ride alone
into the cold
and loney peace
that calls to me from that empty reach.
This poem had always been an inspiration for my son who attends Indiana University. He made a short video he adapted for youtube. If you go to that site and search for klbasey you can find his short for the Robert Frost poem 'Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening'. It is how it was meant to be read. Dark yet inspirational. As a father I was impressed.
No one knows
what another man thinks
or what he means by what he says.
...unless he is here to tell you.
Often though, even when he is
he cannot himself
the meaning of the mood
that chose his words or
drove his pen
to create the thing that moves you.
The poet seeks
to convey a thing
a thought, a mood, a glint of light
that elludes the telling, clear and plain
in a way that stirs
the readers mind
to think a thing
and know a thought;
to feel a mood, and see a sight.
what this poem is about is as different in my heart and yours
as are the divergent paths trodden-by you and me-in the getting here and in the going there.....
Adding to Shiela - the fact that the horse finds it queer and thinks that his master is in a mistake by stopping, acts as a good pointer to the poet's troubled state of mind. The poet also seems relieved that the owner will not see him stop. It is a sad poem but inspirational too.
We've studied this poem in our World Literature course...
First, i took the whole poem literally; however, after re-reading it again for at least three times, i saw his meaning. and it is quite beautiful.
My professor taught us the meaning of this poem... it's about art (imagination) and reality...
in my own conclusion, it means that even though art can set us free from the harsh reality of life... we still have to come back and realize that we are still living and though reality hurts we must face if even if we have to travel miles to reach our goal...
^_^ it's a little deep for a poem that looks, at first glance, made for children rhymes...
and I didn't mean it as a criticism, it is meant as a compliment because it could express this much using simple words and imagism... ^_^