Free Mending Wall by Robert Frost Essay Sample

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'Mending wall' is a poem by Frost which talks about two neighbors who meet every year to repair a wall that is erected between their properties (Bloom, 2002). The poem gives two different characters with different ideas on what makes a good neighbor. The narrator criticizing the neighbor on his act of repairing the wall and on his view, he says that this act is archaic and old-fashioned. He asserts that his neighbor's pinecones will not be invaded by his apples. He asks if there is any importance for such barriers in maintaining relationships in a land where there is discovery and freedom. This does not change the mind of the neighbor and he continues to believe that 'good fences make good neighbors' (Faggen, 2001).

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The narrator says that their repeated act of wall mending tends to oppose nature. This is seen when he says that 'and makes gaps even two can pass abreast' this shows that even after they mend the walls, the stones get dislodged and gaps appear suddenly without the knowledge of any of them. This shows that nature is trying to destroy barriers that have been created on land by man even if frequently repaired.

The poet finds it ironical that the narrator seems to envy the yearly mending of the wall but he is more active in doing so than his neighbor. He is the one who decides on the day to mend the wall. He sometimes walks along the fence and mend the places that have been destroyed by hunters. Despite his cynical attitude towards the mending of the wall, he is portrayed as one who accepts this tradition more than the neighbor (Shapiro, 2006). Ironically, his pretends as a modern man who is beyond traditions which are out of fashion, he is not different from the neighbor and he still believes in the concept of division of ownership of property.

The wall that divides the property of these two neighbors is seen to boost a good relationship between them. Their act of wall mending provides them an opportunity to interact because within their isolated environment being separated by the wall does not allow any communication.

In this poem, the poet has used several writing devices and styles, he used alliteration as seen in lines 32 and 33 'Before I build a wall I'd ask to know /what I was walling in or waling out' (Faggen, 2001). He also uses personification in line 19 where he says 'Stay where you are until our backs are turned' in this case, he is treating the wall as a person. Metaphors are also used and this is seen in line 17 where he says 'and some are loaves and some so nearly balls' he is comparing the walls with balls and loaves (Faggen, 2001).

In the poem 'out, out' a young person is seen cutting firewood using a saw, his sister comes to tell him that it was already time for dinner and he was so excited. At this point, he cuts off his hand and he fears to be amputated though he had already lost his hand. He finally realized that he had lost a lot of blood and he could not survive. He dies and everyone sets back to their daily duties (Bloom, 2002).

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This poem is seen as a critique of the events that forced young boys to act as grown ups during the First World War, it was during this period that this poem was written. This is seen when the boy's hand is chopped off, he like an adult realizes that he had lost a lot of blood and could not survive. He attempts to save his life but it was too late. He knows that he is going to die but he does not want to die without a hand. The narrator blames the adults who were in the scene for not telling the boy to stop working earlier; he says that if the boy had been excused, he would have not injured himself (Shapiro, 2006).

There are also several writing styles used in this poem, the poet uses personification to a large extent. He says 'the buzz saw snarled and rattled' and as if it heard what the sister said, it leaped excitedly out of the boy's hand and cuts it off. He, in this case describes it as a being which has its own mind.

Metaphors and description have also been used in the first part of the poem; the scene is elegantly described in the poem. It describes a sorrowful incident where the boy loses his hand and had to die innocent. The last part is quite unemotional and people are seen going back to their daily duties because live had to continue (Faggen, 2001).


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