The use of symbolism plays a large role in the interpretation of this poem. Something is amiss in the world of walls. He does not believe in walls for the sake of walls. These basic accents, fitted into the variable structure of the line and of the stanza, offer an underlying foundation for words and phrases. Artistic originality and creativity defined the years just prior to the start of World War I.
He accuses him of being so old fashioned and rigid in valueless tradition. Poems, in his view, are constructed around absent centers in the same way that a doughnut, say, takes shape around an empty hole. How do we describe the neighbor? Born in , Frost was eleven years old when his father died and his family relocated to Lawrence, Massachusetts, where his paternal grandparents lived. In fact, the poet would like to know what he is keeping out and what he is protecting by building the wall, and also who might not take kindly to the idea of the wall being put up. Frost served as consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress from 1958 to 1959. The narrator believed that the wall should not exist at all, for he could not find a real reason for putting up the wall.
The absent center of the poem is a single unwritten word or phrase that does not actually appear in the poem, but around which the poem is written. But you have to appreciate the way that this deep philosophical question is so breezily given in a matter of fact style. I assume that the setting is somewhere out in the countryside which is why there is a wall present between the two neighbors. Despite his skeptical attitude, it seems that the narrator is even more tied to the tradition of wall-mending than his neighbor. They do so out of tradition, out of habit. But here there are no cows. He may step into a fictive world but not before glancing back briefly at the brutality that attends upon the play of others.
However, the central theme of the poem is that boundaries are necessary for good relationships and this is why real companionship only creates gaps, while the boundary remains largely intact. However, he is anything but merely a regional poet. At the very outset, the poem takes you to the nature of things. Not just the darkness due to woods and tree-shades. I see him there Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed. Lines 28-31 Again, the speaker considers trying to provoke his neighbor with practical objections, but he never makes this statement out loud. The farmer who lives on the other side of the hill is informed about the hole.
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! Yet the very earth conspires against them and makes their task Sisyphean. The vocabulary is all of a piece—no fancy words, all short only one word, another, is of three syllables , all conversational—and this is perhaps why the words resonate so consummately with each other in sound and feel. By the time Frost returned to the United States in 1915, he had published two full-length collections, A Boy's Will Henry Holt and Company, 1913 and North of Boston Henry Holt and Company, 1914 , and his reputation was established. But what Frost is doing is making the gestures into events in themselves by focusing on the minute actions of the process, so that the narrative is a sequence of actions rather than a sequence of events. Forward, you understand, and in the dark. My apple trees will never get across And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
As the mend mend the wall, they are placing it between them! The speaker recognizes and understands their motive. He asserts that the wall crucial in maintaining their healthy relationship. This containment, the unified limitation of both time and space and the focus on a very simple and uncomplicated action, is yet another means by which Frost uses understatement to his advantage. I think the statement here by the neighbor is meant to be suggestive without really resolving the issue of why the wall must exist. When placed in its context and its form, the poem illustrates the difficulty of changing social traditions, the need for traditions, and the fact that there is a natural force that inevitably challenges traditions.
The woman leans over to slide a piece of paper into one of the cracks, hoping her prayer will be heard in this city of Jerusalem. He does this with a joke that is founded on a practical observation. Frost famously insisted, for example, that poetry should be written with formal meter, while many contemporary writers had already abandoned this convention. This seems to be an odd touch to this poem. He began seriously writing poetry in high school and continued to write all his life.
Ironically, while the narrator seems to begrudge the annual repairing of the wall, Frost subtley points out that the narrator is actually more active than the neighbor. He said it for himself. A collection of letters, interviews, lectures, and other writings in which Frost explores his beliefs on writing and literature. The reader will remember it as the speaker remembers it, and perhaps the reader will have to puzzle out its meaning as the speaker attempts to do. The second line is the neighbor's and contains seven syllables: unstressed, stressed, unstressed, stressed, unstressed, stressed, unstressed. This doesn't mean, however, that Frost's poetry was straightforward or traditional in content or perspective, as 'Mending Wall' illustrates.
This proved to be a prophetic response to a political philosophy that would come to help shape the new, postwar Europe. Language The poet makes use of simple everyday words and expressions such that his narration sounds effortless. He died in Boston in 1963. We keep the wall between us as we go. Though he received great popular acclaim, his critical reputation waned during the latter part of his career. Mending Wall by Robert Frost: Summary and Analysis Mending Wall is a dramatic narrative poem in forty-five lines of blank verse composed by the 20th century modern poet Robert Frost.