Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening

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Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening

The circumstances surrounding the composition of Robert Frost's poem "Stopping by Woods on
a Snowy Evening" explain his use of "The darkest evening of the year" (L.8) which is
closely related it to the greater theme of perseverance in the face of hardship.


Frost wrote this poem, in November(Frost Chronology) 1923; on the same late night he
finished his book New Hampshire (Jackson sec. 1). Being "a little excited from getting
over-tired"(qtd. in Jackson sec. 3), he decided to venture out into the wilderness,
probably to calm down. Frost hitched his horse to a sleigh and left on his journey to
eventually find the "Woods" in this poem. Being in an "autointoxicated"(qtd. in Jackson
sec. 3) state, Frost was mesmerized by the scene of the woods beside the frozen lake. He
eventually broke out of his trance, possibly with the aid of his horse, by thoughts of
prior commitments. The former statement is shown in the text by: "He gives his harness
bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake"(L.L. 9-10) and the latter by: "But I have
promises to keep And miles to go before I sleep"(L.L. 13-14). According to Frost, upon his
return home, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" "was written in a few minutes without
any strain"(qtd. in Jackson sec. 1). Therefore, Frost wrote this poem about himself and
his journey.


Literally, "The darkest evening of the year"(L.8), refers to the winter equinox on
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