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An Analysis of a Poem:

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An Analysis of a Poem: "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" Diction, Verb Tenses, Rhyme and Rhythm in "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" Diction (i.e. choice of vocabulary) The diction of "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" is extremely simple. None of the vocabulary is difficult or unusual, and most of the most of the words are short and plain, for example 'woods', 'house', 'snow', 'horse'. None of the descriptions, either of the setting, or the horse, is detailed or elaborate: the horse is simply, 'little'; the lake is 'frozen' (but we learn nothing else about it), and the only time more than one adjective is used to described anything is when we are told that the woods are: 'lovely, dark and deep'. One major effect of such plain and simple diction is to give the poem a fairy tale quality. This is because, in fairy tales, the settings could be 'anywhere' and 'nowhere' in particular. ...read more.


* This format is repeated in stanza 3: the first, second and fourth lines rhyme ('shake', 'mistake', 'flake') and the third line ('sweep') does not rhyme but it becomes the rhyme sound for stanza 4 ('deep', 'keep', 'sleep', 'sleep'). * Unlike the previous three stanzas, the final stanza is odd because every line has the same rhyme. Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village, though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow. My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year. He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound's the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake. The woods are lovely, dark, and deep But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep. ...read more.


* Stanza 4: In the three previous stanzas, in terms of sound, the only thing which prevented each stanza being completely isolated was that each one had an 'odd' third line which did not rhyme with every other line in the same stanza, but introduced the rhyme in the next stanza instead. But in stanza 4: For the first - and only - time every line rhymes: 'deep', 'keep', 'sleep', 'sleep'. The fact that every line rhymes in the final stanza gives a finality to the poem which has come to an end. The purpose is quite obvious: the poet has come to the end of his poem but what is more important is that although he deeply regrets that he must move on (because he has a promise to keep), he still has a long way to go before he can break for sleep. Though he would love to take his time to enjoy the night, he must, however, gather his meandering thoughts and move on. 1 Suzanne Yeo/ LE 2003/ Appreciating Poetry ...read more.

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