What Is The Mending Wall By Robert Frost About

The poem ‘Mending Wall’ by Robert Frost is an insight into the subtle nuances of human to nature relationships. A dialectic of value, morality and ritual, the poem serves to show us how the way we think and view the world within which we live ca be so different. At its core, ‘Mending Wall’ is a poem about two men connecting and politicking with each other across a wall. Frost’s poem meditates on how two people can exist in harmony despite their differences, while also questioning why they may exist in this manner.

The poem is written in iambic pentameter, which helps to point out the cadence between the two parties. As the narrator makes his way around the wall, the narrator notices how nature has done its best to reconnect the two. It is when he meets the other party he finally realizes how different they are, yet how much they have in common. The other party is a skeptical farmer who is content to rely on tradition for maintaining the wall, whereas the narrator is more open to emphasizing the nuances of their interactions.

The wall itseld is a symbol of a physical divide between the two parties and serves to emphasize their differences. The stone wall, a relic of some distant past, stands as an emblem for peace and unity within the present. In a sense, the wall is their common ground upon which the two men can come together and work out their differences, signifying the precarious balance between competing interests.

Besides the physical divide and differences in opinion, Frost’s poem shows how arbitrarily one can break down distinctions between ‘us’ and ‘them’. By emphasizing the metaphor of the wall between the two men, Frost gives us a powerful illustration of how our differences can be overcome through empathy and understanding. Frost’s poem moves us by its ruminations, urging us to question how we interact with the world around us. The poem serves to remind us that there are many ways of relating to our environment, and it is through communication and cooperation that we can achieve harmony in our interactions.

Finally, Robert Frost’s ‘Mending Wall’ is a poem that serves to subtly highlight the complexities of our relationships with the world around us. In evoking the subtle emotions, tensions, and nuances between the two characters, the poem serves to remind us of the intricate and fragile connections between ourselves and the natural world. In summary, it is a captivating meditation on the power of dialogue, empathy and understanding.

Exploring the Wall’s Structure

Robert Frost’s poem ‘Mending Wall’ uses a physical wall to metaphorically describe different notions of divide and solidarity between two individuals. By constructing the wall as a barrier, Frost emphasizes the contrast between the two men’s outlooks: one being largely traditional in outlook, and the other with a more contemporary mindset. In doing so, Frost highlights the inextricable connection between our environment, our views and our communication.

Frost’s utilization of the wall symbol is particularly effective in conveying the idea that our differences may be bridged. The wall is constructed each year, but it is the speaking between the two men that makes the wall useful. This moment of dialogue shows how even conflicting beliefs may coexist in harmony, and thus serves to reinforce the power of understanding for building bridges between us and the other.

Considering the structure of the poem, Frost utilizes various literary devices to augment the meaning of the poem. By adopting a conversational tone, Frost is able to bring the characters to life, enabling the reader to become invested in their story. His use of iambic pentameter adds a layer of musicality to the poem and serves as a backdrop to the characters’ dialogue. While the wall seems eminently solid, cracks can be seen throughout; these are a consequence of the constant struggle between their differing positions.

Frost further conveys a sense of transformation through poetic devices such as personification and strong imagery. These devices help to illuminate the power of communication and the resilience of nature despite a cultural divide. Estrangement can be seen in the physical structure of the wall, its builder’s dogged insistence on mending it and the persistent intrusion of nature. However, ultimately, Frost’s ‘Mending Wall’ is about the possibility for renewal and resolution, as symbolized by the restored wall.

Analyzing the Characters

Robert Frost’s poem ‘Mending Wall’ effectively conveys the complex nature of relationships between two different characters. Through the lens of this poem, the reader can explore how the differences between these two men can be seen in terms of language, attitude and lifestyle. At the core of the poem, the two men exist in a détente and embrace a certain level of mutual understanding despite their conflicting views.

The narrator, a figure with a more progressive mindset, is portrayed as open to different possibilities and is non-confrontational in his attitude. He is curious, examining the wall and pondering why it should be mended. Despite the differences between the two men, the narrator is driven by curiosity and offers ample opportunity for dialogue and reconciliation.

The second character, the farmer, is a curious figure in the poem. He holds a more traditional outlook and is dug in his values. He relies on tradition for the wall’s maintenance and his arguments for mending it echo rural superstitions and beliefs. Although his views contrast with those of the narrator, the speaker respects his opinions and is reluctant to confront him. Despite the farmer’s firm stance, Frost’s poem conveys the potential for finding understanding between the two men.

Together, the characters of Robert Frost’s ‘Mending Wall’ act as powerful conduits for exploring the nuances of communication and dialogue. Through the two characters, Frost conveys that our differences can transcend physical boundaries and open us up to understanding and reconciliation. In this poem, the speaker and the farmer are examples of how one can bridge different points of views and build fragile common-ground between disparate outlooks.

Interpreting Nature’s Role in the Poem

In Robert Frost’s ‘Mending Wall’, the natural world serves as a powerful backdrop to the characters’ dialogue. This poem is immensely effective in conveying the complex interaction between humans and the natural world, and how, despite a cultural divide, the two can exist in harmony with one another.

Nature is a persistent presence throughout the poem, exhibiting its unifying force. The narrator opens by noting how nature presses on the wall, a reminder of the power and stubbornness of nature. As the poem progresses, the narrator notices more evidence of nature’s impact on the wall, showing how even the most entrenched boundaries can be bridged. Frost’s depiction of nature in ‘Mending Wall’ serves to show how even strong divides can be conquered with understanding and cooperation.

The use of nature in the poem’s symbolism further strengthens its effectiveness. The wall’s ‘gaps even two can pass abreast’ symbolically suggest that nature may eventually open up to overcome the boundaries placed upon it. This reminder serves to bring the two men together, allowing them to understand each other despite their philosophical differences.

Finally, the poem’s ending perfectly summarizes its core message. As the poem draws to a close, Frost shows us the wall’s renewal: no longer is it a physical boundary between the two men but a symbol of peace and mutual understanding. In effect, Frost is suggesting that even the most hardened divisions can be overcome with dialogue and understanding.

Interpreting the Poem’s Wider Significance

Robert Frost’s ‘Mending Wall’ is a timeless poem about empathy, understanding and finding solidarity in our differences. This poem cautions us about the dangerous of overly relying on tradition and perceived notions of superiority. On the contrary, it powerfully conveys that our differences can be our greatest strength and can open us up to a more meaningful understanding of our environment.

Frost’s poem is ultimately a reminder of how hard lines may be broken down and prejudice overcome with dialogue. In his poem, the antiquated wall is an obstacle that can become a bridge between the two speakers. The tasks of communication and cooperation between two different people sharpen the reader’s awareness about their own personal biases. Frost’s poem thus serves to remind us that understanding is far more powerful than divisiveness and helps us to reflect on how we can open ourselves to new perspectives.

Through the lens of his poem, Frost also speaks to our uncertain times. The world is constantly transforming and Frost’s poem suggests that we can make peace amidst chaos. In spite of ever-growing differences and walls between us, we can still build bridges and find mutual understanding. This message of reconciliation resonates even more strongly with the reader in a world where our differences can sometimes lead to discord.

Taken together, Robert Frost’s ‘Mending Wall’ is a narrative for our time, challenging us to reconsider the ways in which we seek harmony and understanding. Ultimately, the poem portrays the powerful role of understanding and dialogue in overcoming our differences, regardless of culture or background. Frost’s poem is thus an enrichment of our understanding of the power of dialogue, signifying that learning and cooperation are our greatest weapons for overcoming the obstacles of our times.

Dannah Hannah is an established poet and author who loves to write about the beauty and power of poetry. She has published several collections of her own works, as well as articles and reviews on poets she admires. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a specialization in poetics, from the University of Toronto. Hannah was also a panelist for the 2017 Futurepoem book Poetry + Social Justice, which aimed to bring attention to activism through poetry. She lives in Toronto, Canada, where she continues to write and explore the depths of poetry and its influence on our lives.

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