Analysis of Robert Frost's "Mending Wall"

Essay by Tinker_bellUniversity, Bachelor'sA, April 2003

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Symbolism of Two Men and a Wall

Robert Frost's poem "The Mending Wall" uses the wall to symbolize the human relationship between the speaker and his neighbor. In this poem, the wall has gradually collapsed by natural force, causing the speaker and his neighbor to meet every spring to repair it together. Because the wall separates the two men, this mending work is an annual event for them to meet with each other. However, there is also a disagreement between the two. The speaker believes the wall to be unnecessary. On the other hand, his neighbor clearly does not want the wall down. He shows this by repeating his father's old saying "Good fences make Good neighbors" (27,45). Although, it seems nature works against this. The unnatural wall put up ritually by the two men every spring, shows the boundaries people tend to put between themselves even though no harm would be inflicted without it.

The poem concerns two different personality types and the human relation between them. Their approach to life is totally different. The neighbor is a very conservative person who follows routines. He follows the traditional wisdom of his father and his father's father. The purpose in fixing the wall and keeping their relationship separate is only because it is all he knows. He might understand logically, there is no need to rebuild the wall, but at the same time he does not want to change his routine. He is frightened to lose this way of life by breaking the tradition thus continuously defends this ritual.

To the other extreme is the poet. He has a logical and freethinking mind. Therefore he suggests that they do not need the wall between them. He says in the poem "My apple trees will never get across /...