Man Searching For Isolation In Stopping By Woods, Mending Wall, Birches And Road Not Taken
Robert Frost is one of the most well known American poets. Frost’s writing shaped the way many people view and write poetry today. His descriptive works are taught in schools throughout the country. The complexity of his poems leaves plenty of room for analysis and discussion. Though one can find many themes in his works a major one that sticks out is mans isolation. Alienation is common in todays’s world and mankind tends to block out the rest of the society avoiding contact with one another. Frost uses nature to discuss man’s desire to isolate themselves instead of having meaningful contact with other humans. We especially see the desire for loneliness in “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” when a man is caught avoiding his humanly responsibilities, or in “Mending Wall” where a man blocks out his neighbors. In “Birches” the narrator wishes for his youth when it was just him and nature, and “Road Not Taken” a man has to decide to take the common path or take the lonely path.
Mankind is a species meant to survive together. In “Stopping By Woods” a man desires isolation. We know this man is in a hurry because he says “But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep” yet he still sits there staring into the raw untouched landscape. Frost gives his horse humanlike characteristics to show how drawn to nature and isolation this man is. Most would think an animal would be the one yearning to be out there alone, separated from the business of the human world. In this case the horse is the one urging the human to return to mankind. For a moment he completely blocked out the world to which he belonged.
Similarly, in “Mending Wall” a neighbor stresses the importance of having a wall between the two properties. The neighbor speaking doesn’t understand the point of separating trees, for why would his trees go eat the fruit of another tree? This is an example of how many blocks out the rest of society for themselves. Frost incorporates many more lines where isolation is mentioned. The lines. “The gaps I mean, No one has seen them made or heard them made, but at spring mending time we find them there” is symbolic of the gap between the neighbors and stresses the separation of the two. Isolation usually goes unnoticed, but there is a clear separation between man. The speaker doesn’t understand the neighbors desire to be alone. He asks, “what was I walling in or walling out?” In the words of Arthur Schopenhauer, “A man can be himself so long as he is alone. If he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom; for it is only when he is alone that he is really free.” Maybe the neighbor seeks freedom and this drives him toward isolation. Whatever the neighbors reasoning is Frost does an exceptional job of showing his rejection of his fellow man.
“Birches” touches on the isolation you find in youth. Frost sets the mood of lonliness by talking about the coldness that winter brought. The narrator shows how he misses the loneliness that comes with being young when he says “I should prefer to have some boy bend them. As he went out and in to fetch the cows— Some boy too far from town to learn baseball, Whose only play was what he found himself, Summer or winter, and could play alone.” When you’re young you find amusement out of whatever is around. You don’t need the company of other humans to find enjoyment in life. Frost writes this in a way that makes the reader think the narrator is tired of his life with mankind and misses the isolation that his youth brought. Frost really shows the narrator’s views on todays society later in the poem when he says “I’d like to get away from earth awhile And then come back to it and begin over.” This combined with the yearning for his isolated youth shows a man’s desire to be cut off from the rest of the world.
Just like in “Birches” Frost shows mans choice to separate from the rest of the world in “A Road Not Taken.” Man is faced with a decision when “two roads diverge in a yellow wood.” One path is obviously not been used in a while and the other shows signs of wear. The roads can be symbolic to society. In this case a man has to decide between a society that is busy with the travels of mankind, or a society isolated from the rest of man. In the last line Frost says, “I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” The traveler, obviously wants to be alienated from mankind and his choice to do so has given him a happier life.
The Works of Robert Frost are full of man’s search for solitude and isolation. “Stopping By Woods”, “Mending Wall”, “Birches”, and “Road Not Taken” are just a few samples of Frost showing the separation people search for rather than surrounding themselves with fellow man. Frost does a great job at using the loneliness of untouched nature to show the true nature of man, which is blocked off from the rest of the world in total isolation.
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Robert Frost is one of the most well known American poets. Frost’s writing shaped the way many people view and write poetry today. His descriptive works are taught in schools […]