Study Guide

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening Isolation

By Robert Frost


His house is in the village though (2)

Why does the owner of the woods live in town and not near his woods? And have you ever heard of someone owning woods? We've heard of people owning land, but owning woods seems like an entirely different matter. When we hear the word "woods," we think of an untamable, wild expanse. With this second line, our speaker draws a clean line between the village and the woods. They are like oil and water.

He will not see me stopping here (3)

Our speaker is one paranoid man. The way he uses the word "see" instead of "catch" or "find" or "discover" makes us think that he is worried that someone might be hiding in the trees, watching him. There's also something very forceful about the words "will not," as though the speaker is commanding the landowner or reassuring himself that no one is watching. In any case, our speaker seems to want pretty badly to be alone.

The little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near (5-6)

We might think it was a bit strange, too, if you stopped in the middle of nowhere. At least there's a horse around. And this is not just any horse – this horse is very humanlike in our book. This horse has thoughts and opinions. Our speaker is not entirely alone.

The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake. (11-12)

It is quiet out here, and just a wee bit creepy, if you ask us. You know when it gets too quiet that you begin to freak out a little bit? That's the kind of quiet that fills the woods our speaker watches. Our speaker is all by himself, and yet we can't help but feel like he's not alone.

And miles to go before I sleep.
And miles to go before I sleep. (15-16)

We've reached the end of the poem, and we still don't know if our speaker has a family or if anyone is waiting up for him at home. The word "I" appears five times throughout the poem, and we get the feeling that our speaker is one individualistic kind of guy.

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