Poem Analysis: 'Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening'

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If you think about it, life is mostly about transitions from one to another – stages, places, subjects, roles, states, etc., with the hours and decades we invest in, just so that we would end up at a destination. We often become so obsessed with the pursuit of a result that we forget to stop and consider the moment. Robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening is like a snapshot of a specific moment in between two destinations, so common yet so frequently overlooked. Transitions are processes which not only remind me of the beginning, but also constantly reassessing and thus inform the direction of the goal. For this reason, I am particularly intrigued by the poem’s invitation to the reader to pause and just examine the liminal moment. This idea of a pause is clearly reflected in the form of the poem, with sentences of similar length making up the four stanzas written in iambic tetrameter. It gives a sense of steady pondering, both from looking at the poem and reading it aloud. Especially for the latter, the slightly complicated pronunciations of words beginning with “sh”, “sn”, “th”, “st”, “sw”, “fl”, “pr”, and “sl”, as well as words ending in “ow”, “re”, “er”, “ar”, “ke”, and “p” almost force the reader to slow down and engage in the moment of simply assembling the word. Just like a stopwatch, the poem takes us into a special unleashed moment free from society and obligations, to which we are so used to committing our whole existence, and appreciate the near-silence moment with the speaker to be mesmerized by the woods “[O]f easy wind and downy flake”. Suffocated by destinations after purposes after destinations, society has taught us that stopping is “queer” and perhaps “there is some mistake”. Here I see “village” and “farmhouse” as the generalized norm, where people ought to go and even horses believe are the destinations. How many actually manage to
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