An Analysis of “Mending Wall”
In Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Wall” the narrator speaks in unrhymed lines as if he were thinking. This lyric poem is written in one long stanza, presenting itself as if it were also a wall. The reader has no breaks to contemplate the thoughts and feelings of the narrator about the wall. Robert Frost uses imagery and humor to describe his thoughts of the wall and his relationship with his neighbor over the wall.
As we are taken from beginning to end in this long one stanza poem we can picture the stone wall that divides these neighbors. Through imagery, we can picture the wall with sections missing, “gaps even two can pass” (l. 4); large gaps in the wall where two people could pass through side by side. Frozen tree roots push up the ground and create gaps. The narrator is wondering if the tree is following along with his thoughts and does not want the wall there also: “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, / That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it” (l. 1 and 2). Gaps were also created by the hunters that use the neighbor’s properties as hunting grounds during the winter: “they would have the rabbit out of hiding, / To please the yelping dogs” (l. 8 and 9). The reader can picture the hunters sending their dogs onto the properties to wash out the rabbits from their winter nesting spots. Then having the dogs chase the rabbits and return them to the hunters who are possibly sitting on the walls waiting for the dogs. The neighbors do not see these hunters ruining their wall, which shows the reader that the properties are large. The speaker does not know the gaps are there until spring, when he goes out to inspect the wall. He then schedules a meeting with his neighbor to walk the property line to inspect and repair the wall.
As the neighbors are walking the property line and resetting the stones, Robert Frost uses humor to demonstrate to the reader how hard it is to balance these stones of all different...