Symbolism of Robert Frost’s Poems

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Updated: Apr 30, 2024
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Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” and “The Road Not Taken” hide many imagery and symbolism. There are themes such as civilization and nature. They both present nature as the mysteries in life. Forst’s poems also both have narrators traveling in them and this represents our life’s journey. The poem “The Road Not Taken” relies on the metaphor and imagery to convey the twists and turns of real life. The narrator in “The Road Not Taken,” is walking until he comes to a diverge in a yellow wood.

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The narrator stands there to ponder over his choices but both bend into the undergrowth.

He thinks of previous experiences and tries to make the best decision off his resources. The yellow color is a middle color and symbolizes the unsureness of the choice. The line ‘because it was grassy and wanted wear’ is referring to the path the narrator chooses. It is a less used path and has overgrown. The narrator came to a crossroads and had to make a major decision in life. The road itself in the poem is symbolizing the journey of life. The roads diverging is the symbolism of the choices. That when a decision is made he will not be able to go back. In life, there are roads that have to be taken and for every road, we take there is one left untaken. All that can be done is to use one’s own experiences. In Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” uses many symbolic meanings. In the poem, Frost says the rider is nowhere near the village but is only surrounded by nature The rider symbolizes one’s lonely journey through life. The line “miles to go before sleep” is symbolized as the narrator has to reach his final destination before he can stop for the night. The “promises to keep” is a symbol for the rider has things he has to go do before he is able to stop and sleep. The woods symbolize beauty and mystery of what’s going on in the world. It is symbolic of how most people go through life by ignoring the beauty of nature and being selfish. The whole poem could even symbolize the journey of life like Frost’s other poem “The Road Not Taken.” The rider is going through life and the woods symbolize the riders obstacles and goals.

Once the rider stops and tries to enjoy the view and beauty of things the horse nudges and gives his bell a shake at the rider. The horse symbolizes society into movement. The horse is questioning the riders decision to stop. Society pushes people and conforms them into thinking one certain way. Most of society doesn’t want you to think of your own ideas or for you to enjoy yourself. People place such pressure throughout one’s daily life. The rider by trying to stay and ponder symbolizes that we should slow down and take joy in the beauty of the world around us. The end of the poem is symbolic of death. It is the realization that there are many things to be done in life before one can die. Frost uses imagery to exemplify his tone of self-reflection. He mainly uses the sensory image in the poem. The line “undergrowth” indicates the perplexity of life and difficult to predict the outcome of life’s choices. The line “a yellow road” indicate that the trees were changing. This indication suggests that it is near autumn. The narrator states that it was grassy and giving it an earthly beautiful location. Winter imagery is very noticed in “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” by the snow, frozen lake, and the jingle of harness bells.

The poem starts off as creating a setting in the woods far from civilization. It is a remote area since their is no farmhouse near and the rider is between the woods and the frozen lake. The darkest time of the year is an image of it being late into the night when the time changes to get darker earlier as it does in the winter time. The rider describes the woods as lovely dark and deep. The snow is described as filling the woods and getting deep throughout the dark winter night. The poem gives sensory to hearing by telling there is easy wind. The easy wind also creates a sense of calmness and serenity because it is the only thing to be heard. The tone of ‘The Road Not Take’ is reflective, ponderous, and uncertain.

The narrator is weighing out the pros and cons in a quite lengthy manner. The tone becomes serious because of the life decision that was set in front of the narrator. The narrator is really unsure about which to choose and waits as he ponders on the choices. Forst’s “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” is a tone of quiet reflection that is calm but also can be dark. The rider becomes captivated by the woods around him. He begins to ponder on his life while reflecting on the beauty of the woods. The rider also seems to be trying to get away from society to go on an independent life journey. The rider while on this mission stops to admire the woods during a dark evening. There are no distractions here and the rider can focus on his own life but knows he has to get back to finish things that have to be done. Frost’s two poems “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” and “The Road Not Taken” can both be interpreted and evaluated differently depending on the person doing it. They both show that life is hard. Life will have obstacles a people pushing you to do things you don’t want to do. Sometimes you might have to take a break like the rider did or maybe it is taking a different path than everyone else to decide for yourself. These poems both show that it is your life journey and no one else.

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Symbolism of Robert Frost’s Poems. (2021, May 20). Retrieved from