I read “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” and was instantly lulled into the iambic nature of a pleasant read. The syllabically entwining stanza structure offers a soothing respite, something which neither placates the reader or excavates. Its overall simplicity bodes to the existence in which it’s created, self-replicating an intention to plod along with our lives once we’ve consumed the poem – like the man in the poem plods along with his journey after briefly stopping also. As a general overview, Frost’s work concerns the theory of continuation. So how does this affect our course for Mass Media, Society and Communications? The clue is in the middling value, in which we can expand more so.
First, the poem concerns a man on his horse returning home from a journey. he acknowledges that the place where he stops does not belong to him, but he marvels in the presence of the woods filled with snow on this particular evening; he confirms that a man in the local village owns these woods, so he is to pass through unattached. He’s tempted to stay and indulge or admire his surroundings furthermore, but becomes obligated to an unnamed variance that is to pull him away. Symbolically, this poem presents a host of conundrums and retaliates the idea of pure simplicity, which fronts its existence; as such, the poem undermines itself.
The woods hold no dark aura or negative connotation, despite the fact that it’s the “darkest evening of the year”. The problem, therefore, is the peripheral connotations of darkness allaying the poem and our fears; that there’s a depth to the simplicity that bears greater meaning, foregoing instant conclusions, and vastly open to interpretation. In a nutshell, the poem provokes the following conflict: is one to succumb to the attraction of the woods, or must one find responsibility and sensibility in moving away and passing onwards? In its self, we’re able to gather such a broad moral and initiate a personal response; I find that I’m seduced into this semi-nostalgic/reflective state, which is reminiscent of the tone and pacing of the poem as a whole.
As the central topic of focus, ‘the woods’ are representative of a seduction trait that we’re accustomed to behold in our day to day lives. We’re seduced by sugar, caffeine, gossip, women/men, money, to name but a few. Frost’s main asset, as a poet, is incorporating layers of relatable context to varying stages of life. In my opinion, the contrast of woodland and village represents the borders of society (perhaps a bridge from our previous assignment/assessment of the “Echo Chamber” effect?) and removing ourselves from societal norms; to appreciate beauties that crowds (the village) approve of, to discount the herds of societal sheep and think for ourselves. Observing and articulating, whether that’s introspective or reflective or outward, may produce an alternative sense of something that we’re happy about – like the man and the woods, who disregards the town beneath him to become inspired by those woods before him, and thus becomes compelled by it.
In engaging with this mystique, the man is basically representing the fulfillment of attraction – an attraction to something unexplored, unknown and unconquered.
I can relate to this wholeheartedly, because I went one step further and leapt into the unknown: my journey to the USA. Like this man who’d stopped by the woods out of intrigue, I stopped by a conversation concerning scholarship opportunities to the US. Despite its recent upturn in popularity, in my particular domain back in the UK it was relatively unheard of; I didn’t know anybody who’d ventured abroad to play soccer and study, so I didn’t know how viable it was or whether the opportunity was worth pursuing. The aura and mystery behind breaking out of societal normality and conforming to usual career routes, admittedly, appealed to me; I wanted to do something independently. The last duo of lines in this poem – the repetition of “and miles to go before I sleep” – sounds off like an unforgettable reverberation of something imprinted, that won’t ever fully go away. I think that this particular notion is a good take-away for myself, with the idea of America never really venturing away from my mind too far prior to my inevitable arrival; in short, after learning of the potentiality of moving abroad, it was apparent that I’d follow through with committing.