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MendingWallby Frost, a critical analysis

InMendingWall Frostdescribes two neighbors, whose lands are divided by a physical fence.The poem represents the speaker’s internal monologue reflecting theopposing opinions between himself and the neighbor regarding the needof the wall(Coulthard, 40). It is ironical that despite the fact that the speaker considers thewall as for no use, he is the one who reminds his neighbor that thewall needs some repair. The narrator views the wall as uselessbecause between him and his neighbor, none has cows that can intrudeon other’s land. Additionally, he makes an observation: “somethingthere is that doesn’t love a wall”. The neighbor opposes hisopinion by replying “Good fences make good neighbors”. As thepoems ends, the narrator is of the opinion that his neighbor’sopinions are primitive “savage” and that he holds on to valuesand traditions passed to him by his forefathers, unlike his, whichare up to date(Iadonisi and Robert, 191).

Fromthe poem, it is clear that the narrator identifies two things that donot love the fence, nature and humanity(Watson, 653).He observes that “the frozen ground swells” beneath the wall. Healso says that the wall “spills the upper boulders in the sun”.Just like his name, frost destroys walls in the poem representing hisdislike for the wall separating human beings. In line four of thepoem, Frost describes gaps that have been created “gaps even twocan pass abreast”, by nature’s weakening of the wall. Thisimplies that its removal increases the chances of unity andfellowship between individuals by allowing interactions(Watson, 655).

Thenarrator proceeds to identify the second thing that does not love thewall which is humanity. He explains that hunters destroy the wall insearch for rabbits “not one stone on a stone”. Despite the factthat the speaker does not like the wall, he goes after the huntersand repairs the wall. This shows that, the speaker may have anegative opinion about the wall but in some ways, he values itbecause it gives him privacy from the neighbor (Coulthard, 41). Thespeaker’s ironical opinion of the wall implies that despite thefact that the wall has the ability to hinder human interactions, itcan offer privacy and independence form unwanted outsiders.

Theneighbor values the wall because it protects him from the outsideforces that destroy individualism that gives him identity(Watson, 656).However, the speaker desires the wall to be removed so as to get achance to impose his opinions on his neighbor “put a notion in hishead” (Coulthard,41). Moreover, the nature of hunting emphasizes the destruction of theindividual. As the hunters pursue the rabbit from their hidingplaces, they do so with a purpose to kill. Similarly, the speakercalls his neighbor to repair the wall together with an aim of killinghis individualism and forcing his opinions on him(Iadonisi and Robert, 192).

Thepoem entirely represents the opposing opinions about the need of awall between two individuals. The speaker tries to draw the reader tohis side to oppose his neighbor’s opinions. However, at a closerlook, the speaker inwardly wants the reader to realize the importanceof the wall in ensuring that human beings grow individually andacquire some identity(Coulthard, 42).In line 13 he says, “I let my neighbor know beyond the hill”,meaning that he sets off the mending process. Frost wants the readersto understand that a wall is a necessary barrier that must existbetween human beings for an individual to protect his soul, way ofthinking and ensure mutual understanding for peaceful co-existence(Iadonisi and Robert, 192).


Coulthard,A. R. &quotFrost`s Mending Wall.&quot TheExplicator45.2 (1987): 40-42.

Iadonisi,Richard A., and Robert Faggen. &quotTheCambridge Introduction to Robert Frost.&quot (2010): 191-193.

Watson,Charles N. &quotFrost`s Wall: The View from the Other Side.&quotNewEngland Quarterly (1971): 653-656.