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Words: 584 |
3 min read
Published: Nov 16, 2018
Words: 584|Page: 1|3 min read
In the poem “Mending Wall”, Robert Frost uses language and paragraph structure in order to develop controversial ideas about the necessity of change and stirring rebellion, and about maintaining individuality.
One of the prevalent themes present in this poem is that of change, and when it is necessary. When describing the uselessness of the wall, the speaker says, “My apple trees will never get across/ And eat the cones under his pines”. Here, the speaker emphasizes that the wall is not needed, and implies that there is no use in mending the wall, therefore advocating for change. The speaker’s believes that the wall is not necessary, shown when he says, “There where it is we do not need the wall” (line 17). He clearly sees no use for the wall anymore and is thinking practically. Logically, maintaining the wall is simply a waste of time and resources, as it is no longer needed. Frost relays the theme of change and rebellion through the speaker’s questioning of old customs as time goes on. After the speaker suggests that they perhaps break down the wall the reaction he receives is, “He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors’ “(line 27). The neighbor’s repetition and insistence of this proverb shows his devotion to tradition and his unwillingness to change. This proverb has most likely been passed down over generations, once again reinforcing the idea that the neighbor is obsessed with custom and tradition. The fact that the poem ends with this line suggests that no change was established, and that the wall remained. The young, refreshing voice of change is clearly overshadowed by the elder opinion that change is unnecessary if the current system is working. This is an extremely powerful and controversial message, which is especially interesting during a time of such political uproar in America.
Another message clear in Frost’s poem is that of the importance of individuality. For example, in lines 8 and 9, the speaker says, “And on a day we meet to walk the line/ And set the wall between us once again”. The order of these lines is meant to express the irony of the situation. The only time the two neighbors converse or meet is when they are trying to ensure that they won’t be bothered by each other for the rest of the year. This exposes the American culture as an individualistic one, and subtly criticizes the American belief in autonomy. In addition, when describing the mending of the wall, the speaker says, “One on a side” (line 16). This emphasizes the fact that even when working together towards a common goal, the two are separated. Once again, this stresses the importance of individuality in the American culture; the fact that even when we all want the same thing, we refuse to work together to achieve it, and we look out for our own self-interests first. Lastly, in line 18, the speaker describes himself and his neighbor by saying, “He is all pine and I am apple orchard”. The juxtaposition between these two items is once again meant to describe the separation between the two. Despite the fact that they live in the same neighborhood (and are therefore likely from a similar social class), they are still completely separate beings. Again, through this, Frost hopes to express the idea that individuality is one of America’s core values.
Through his usage of language and his paragraph structure, Frost conveys controversial views on American society and its perception of change and individuality.
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