Symbolisms in ‘Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening’

Lots of symbolism has used by Robert Frost in this poem. Although the poem itself is written on a very typical, iambic and rhythmic approach using simple language that can easily be understand, there are lots of hidden messages enclosed on every words, lines, stanzas and even to its title itself which has to be interpreted in order for the poem as well as the poet to be understood. Thus, his symbolism, which adds more spice to the poem, has been a help in analyzing its meaning.

The title ‘Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening’ was a thought-provoking message which could predict that someone has saying goodbye to his life when he was undergoing through the worst time. Perhaps, the life that he was trying to saying goodbye with or to have its stopping period was a life that is full of misery and agony. The first stanza alone covered four symbolisms in which after interpreting those them could help identify the real meaning of the poem.

Firstly, the woods here suggest life. The speaker in this poem tried to figure out whom life it was after all, although he said he thinks he knew who it was.

Life may have different meanings, and that was the very reason why Robert Frost wanted to write it in plural form –woods. Secondly, the house of the woods’ owner might depict God or the giver of life. The tone of speaker offered the connotation that God doesn’t see him while he was staring at the life he provided.

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Thirdly, it was the village. Probably, village was the representation of heaven. Frost did not mention that the village was snowy or freezing as well as the house. God in heaven, as everybody believes, would never experience such upheaval. The last symbol was the snow.

The snow represented storm or blizzard, a cold natural phenomenon, or perhaps an unpredicted but anticipated natural catastrophe that can freeze one’s life. Again on the second stanza laid four symbolisms, the little horse, farmhouse, frozen lake, and the darkest evening of the year. To the little horse, it might speak as a voice of the speaker’s conscience. It was written as little because one’s conscience never took proud over the consciousness but not as littlest because it would never be littlest to the point that one could see it as insignificant.

The farmhouse suggested point of recognition to the presence of the speaker’s conscience, probably located in his heart where the speaker does not always referring to. Frozen lake might offer a clear picture of death. Lake with its deep and wide characteristic is as frightening as death. Frozen can also be seen literally as lifeless or immovable. The darkest evening of the year although it was written figuratively indicated hopelessness, helplessness and powerlessness. At certain moment, the speaker confidently admitted that he was undergoing through his roughest time.

Third stanza covered symbolisms formed on different sounds such as harness bells, easy wind, and downy flake. The harness bell of the horse denoted murmuring of the conscience. It’s as if the shaking sound of the bell tried to awaken the speaker about the stopping thinking in the midst of such heavy snowfall. Easy wind offered calmness and lightness of the speaker’ burden in his heart or perhaps denoted a peace of mind while downy flake suggests tears falling. Such peace of mind might be experience only if one lets his tears flow because it is the best way to lighten up the heart’s load.

In the first two lines of the last stanza, which said that ‘the woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep,’ (Frost, 1011) one could predict that the tone of the speaker here tried to figure out the bad and the good memories collected all through his whole existence. Those memories might be though some were somewhat upsetting, all of it could be meaningful and hard to forget. However, he still has no option but to do what he has to do just like performing the promise that he once said. Two last two stanza was identical. Robert Frost made this very ending as dramatic as it looked like.

Having that style would make the readers think that the speaker still followed his heart’s desire to just do the stopping by the woods on a snowy evening which means to pause for quite sometime with the life he is living while it still on its darkest and gloomiest period. The speaker here realized not to just cut his journey as he has so many miles to go before he went asleep. Lastly, the poem although can be perceived its tone as very depressing all throughout just like a suicide note, the ending still portrayed a positive outcome and contentment.


Ciardi, John. “Robert Frost: The Way to the Poem. ” Robert Frost: A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. James M. Cox. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1962. 21-30. Frost, Robert. “ Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening. ” Literature and Its Writers. A compact Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 4th Ed. Ann Charters and Samuel Charters. 2007. 1010-1011. Jeffers, Susan, and Robert Frost. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. New York: Penguin, 2001.

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Symbolisms in ‘Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening’. (2017, Apr 30). Retrieved from

Symbolisms in ‘Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening’
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