by Robert Frost
Mending Wall Language and Communication Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (line)
‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!’ (line 19)
The actual dialogue that he presents us with in this poem consists of a proverb and a spell. The remainder of the conversation between the speaker and neighbor relies on a second-hand report by means of our speaker. The only real communication we know that our speaker and his neighbor engage in doesn’t have anything to do with each other, but, rather, with the wall (in the form of the spell) and with the past opinions of others (in the form of the "Good fences make good neighbors" proverb). Do you find that you are hungry to hear more of their conversation, or are you satisfied with what you get in this poem?
He will not go behind his father’s saying, (line 44)
What does it mean to "go behind" a saying or an idea? Is it like going behind someone’s back. and doing something that you said you wouldn’t do without telling him or her? How is this phrase different from "reject," as in, "He will not reject his father’s saying?" To us, "go behind" sounds a bit more undercover, and the speaker almost seems like a teenager daring his friend to do something that his parents forbid him to do. The speaker doesn’t seem to judge the neighbor for believing in the proverb, but he does seem to judge him for his inability to think outside the box, at least temporarily.