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Write a critical appreciation of Mending Wall exploring how far you think that Frost uses his observations of a simple rural event to make a significant conclusion.

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Introduction

Write a critical appreciation of Mending Wall exploring how far you think that Frost uses his observations of a simple rural event to make a significant conclusion. In Mending Wall, Frost assumes the character of a farmer who has the task of rebuilding a wall which separates him and his neighbour. The poem can be viewed from two very different angles, both which raise very different conclusions. At first glance, the poem seems harmless and innocent, whereby Frost's character questions the need for a wall to be in place - a wall that he feels symbolises the barriers of communication that people put up around themselves and other people. This idea of innocence is repeated throughout the poem. He appears to see that repairing the wall as the labour of love, gaining no reward from his efforts, but continuing anyway. He begins by fantasizing about how the wall has become broken, creating naive images in his head, such as the idea of rabbits breaking it during the spring - the 'mischief in [him]', and gives the sense that he believes that repairing the wall is ...read more.

Middle

This shows deep thought towards the ironic idea that the only time the neighbours meet is to rebuild the wall once a year, working together to separate each other. He begins to criticize his neighbour for having such a negative view on the wall, and refers to him as 'an old stone savage armed' with the grammatical error used on purpose to emphasise the term 'armed', to create a sense that the neighbour is now the enemy because he fails to share the same views as Frost's character. Whilst he attempts to appear to maintain a jovial persona, Frost jestingly states that he 'could say 'Elves' to him, but its not elves exactly...'. This gives the impression that Frost is saddened or unimpressed by the neighbour, creating a division between the two. In rebuilding the wall, which is a metaphor for a barrier of human communication, Frost divides himself from the neighbour, ironically demonstrating the wall's power before even being erected. Frost finishes the poem by reiterating the neighbour's phrase, showing that nothing has changed during his wondering thoughts. ...read more.

Conclusion

From the fact that the neighbour states that "good fences make good neighbours" (repeated at the end possibly through Frost's anger) we can begin to build an image of the neighbour in our head. It could be said that he lives an unenlightened life, where he has never questioned his own thoughts or failed to believe whatever he is instructed to believe. Ironically, however, we end up learning more about Frost and the issues he has, leading him to be in the constant state of anger and bitterness. We can see that from the simple rural event of rebuilding a wall, Frost has drawn several conclusions about the neighbour, and the wall itself. The way in which the reader interprets the poem is the basis for the decision of what the conclusion actually is - whether it be the simple and innocent view that the wall is simply not necessary, and acts as a communication barrier, or whether it be that the wall is a stimulus for Frost to reflect on the neighbours actions and scrutinize him. Both conclusions are significant. Will Lilley ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

The writer sums up the opposing readings succinctly, but should avoid a 'binary' approach - texts can provide more than 1 or 2 meanings!
A generally well constructed essay, but it can come across as a little too descriptive and not analytical enough. Answers should be planned and structured closely around the wording of the question. ***

Marked by teacher Karen Reader 21/02/2012

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