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On 'Mending Wall' by Robert Frost.

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Introduction

On 'Mending Wall' From the very title of this poem Robert Frost implies his intention of presenting an everlasting barricade in human relationship, symbolized by the image of a wall. Close analysis reveals a work that functions on many levels. On the surface, 'Mending Wall' pictures a scene in which the narrator and his neighbor cooperate with one another to mend a cracked wall and then begin a reasoning dispute over the significance/insignificance of having a wall between them. However, as the poem develops, more underlying conflicts are unfolded which cast a different light on the scene before the readers. Frost takes on these issues to explore some of the more complex aspects of human relationship in modern days. The poem opens with a comment of the puzzled narrator about an unknown force that 'sends the frozen-ground-swell under it/And spills the upper boulders in the sun', producing measurable gaps in the wall. By the use of an unlikely compound noun: 'frozen-ground-swell', instead of a proper word, such as 'ice' or 'icicle', and the failure to relate the cracks as consequences of the former phenomenon the comment is likely to be the voice of a youth as well as a remark to the natural wonder. Then the depiction of gaps caused by hunters disrupts the scene and brings in a preliminary conflict within the narrator's mind; that is, ironically, the narrator approves only of natural cracks in a wall not the man-made ones. ...read more.

Middle

We wear our fingers rough with handling them. Oh, just another kind of outdoor game', hinted by such examples as the effect of interrupting uneasiness from continuous unstressed ending and some words, including 'have to', 'spell', and 'rough', that connote hardship. While mending the wall, the narrator is, however, overwhelmed thoughtlessly with joyful physical recreation and sense of collaboration with his neighbor. Even though he has remarked somewhere that the wall is set up again, the narrator seems ironically ignorant to the fact that 'mending wall' will later disunify his sense of 'we', the togetherness between himself and his neighbor. Once he realizes it an argument will be unavoidable. At a particular point, 'One on a side' , Frost allows his narrator a pause for reasoning thoughts by applying a long-vowel sound followed immediately by a Caesura. The pause as well as the subsequent statement: 'It comes to little more', reports a wondering tone and suggests in some way that the narration is developing his intellectual maturity. He begins his first argument against the significance of 'mending wall', saying innocently 'My apple trees will never get across/And eat the cones under his pines'. He fails to argue his neighbor's murmur: "Good fences make good neighbors", though. Further on the main conflict of a revolutionary mind versus a conservative one has fully developed, illustrating Frost's concerned awareness of mental gaps in modern relationship. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, seeds of satire are also disseminated in the delineation of the rebelling narrator. The Fruit of Knowledge, which is compared to the revolutionary mind, is not only the cause of human intelligence but also that of human banishment from the Garden of Eden. Considering himself as civilized and assuming allegedly that his belief is unarguably correct, the narrator of the 'Mending Wall' is somehow driven by pride when he ridicules his neighbor as a prehistoric savage. Moreover, such premises as the eating of 'cones', the wandering of 'cows' and the uselessness of a 'wall' have their implication of materialism (Note that they are all materials and involve the gain/loss of benefits). Frost may intend to insert these defaults to make his subversive narrator less reliable and leave space for individual readers to judge according to their own favour. When finishing 'Mending Wall' it is possible to assert that the poem is a microcosm of our changing world in which ones are gradually separated from the others as a result of ones' own bias, causing interminable gaps in human relationship. Portrayed in 'Mending Wall' are the narrator, the revolutionary mind, who assumes arrogantly his superiority to others and his neighbor, the conservative mind, who possesses indestructible sense of stubbornness. Frost has implied that the roots of all trouble indeed lie within these two egocentric characters. The wall itself stands as an ironic symbol of integration or reconciliation and does not account for the disintegration between the narrator and his neighbor. Poonperm PAITAYAWAT 444 01419 22 ...read more.

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