Study Guide

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening Man and the Natural World

By Robert Frost

Man and the Natural World

Whose woods these are I think I know. (1)

Though this line seems like it was broken in half and then glued back together in the wrong order, we like how the woods are the first thing we hear about when we begin reading the poem. It's almost as if our speaker wants to showcase the "woods" over his own self.

He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow. (3-4)

The action at hand, the one that occupies our speaker throughout this poem, is that of watching snow fall on the woods. Quite a simple action. What does it say about the speaker that he take pleasure in watching snow fall on trees?

Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year. (7-8)

We don't know about you, but to us the word "frozen" is not such a pleasant word. It makes us feel, well, cold, and it makes us think of things like frostbite and popsicles. This seems to be the first semi-violent word in the poem, the first word that reminds us of the dangers that lie behind such a beautiful scene.

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

What does a sweeping noise sound like? Well, when we say the word "sweep" aloud, we can kind of hear a little wind come out of our mouths. Try it. That ssss noise along with the wwww noise creates a little storm. It's quiet out here in the wilderness, and this quiet almost becomes another character, another presence.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep. (13)

What do you make of these three words (lovely, dark, and deep) together? Do they mix well? From what you know of the woods so far, do they seem lovely, dark, and deep. What do these word choices say about our speaker?

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