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Analysis

Mending Wall Setting

Where It All Goes Down

Read this poem, and then close your eyes. What do you see? Perhaps you see a New England countryside, muddy and green after a spring rain? Do you see an ancient, crumbling rock wall running alongside an apple orchard and some tall pine trees? Or, maybe you see two men in the distance, kneeling in the mud, trying to fit little boulders into the spaces of the rock wall. You might also hear the distant sound of hunters and their dogs chasing after a little bunny rabbit. As you walk along, the sun filters through the treetops and bathes everything in shadows which shake with the breeze. Do you smell those pine trees?

This is not a place where ferocious animals dwell. In fact, dogs and humans are the most ferocious creatures here. We can assume that the winters here are pretty rough and snowy, so we can’t blame our speaker for wanting to get out and about in the spring. We would want to walk the whole length of a rock wall, too, if we’d been cooped up in our little house all winter long. The leaves are so thick above our heads that things get a little dim in these woods. This is not suburbia, folks; this is genuine country, where neighbors live miles from one another. We don’t know about you, but we’re starting to feel just a wee bit lonely.

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