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Symbol Analysis

The woods in this poem are something to write home about. Our speaker can't get enough of them, telling us that "the woods are lovely, dark and deep" (13), as though he were hypnotized. The woods must be all that and a bag of chips, because our speaker is compelled to stop and stare at them on the freezing, dark winter evening. There's a mysterious element to these woods as well, and we get the sense that the speaker is not alone, even though he is very much by himself. Whenever we see woods in literature, we almost automatically see them in contrast to civilization. If you've read The Scarlet Letter, think about the woods Hester Prynne frequents. We also think of woods as being mazelike and full of hidden obstacles, like the Fire Swamp in The Princess Bride (watch out for the Rodents Of Unusual Size and the quicksand). These are some pretty intense woods, so feel free to interpret them how you will. We will offer a few ideas below.

  • Lines 1, 4, 7, 13: Some interpret the woods as an extended metaphor for death.
  • Line 4: Here we see woods as a clear and crisp image as our speaker describes them filling up with snow.

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