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Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Research papers on a number of Frost’s poems explore deeper themes that what is originally reveals during a precursory reading.  One clear example is Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.  Upon first reading Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost, the reader is introduced to, what appears to be a man, on his way home to a local farmer’s house.  He is obviously tired and stops to admire the snow falling in a wooded field.  The imagery provided by Frost details the quietness of the softly falling snow and the vague familiarity that the main character has with the area that he is visiting.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Although research papers could easily argue that Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening is a simple description of a beautiful New England sunset, there are many clues imbedded in the language and structure of the text that indicate that Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening is much more than a description of a scenic snowfall.  The first point in your research paper should be to note the oddity about the poem, which is its almost rhythmic chant.  The rhyme scheme, which follows the pattern A,A,B,A (with the exception of the last stanza) coupled with the meter, iambic tetrameter, 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 the traveling man, this night is the darkest of his life.

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