Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening [Poem] - Summary & Analysis

This poem may be trying to say that duty is more important than anything else. We have to carry our duty even if we feel it is difficult. We will not

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

- By Robert Frost

Literal Comprehension

Robert Frost is one of the famous American romantic writers. The present poem,' Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening' is one of the best-known poems by Frost. Romantic writers write on the theme of ‘Nature’. For them, nature is god, a teacher and has both capacities to create and destroy. This is a very short poem consisting of four stanzas where Frost presents a beautiful landscape of snowy evening. He begins his poem with an indirect question: whose woods are these? The answer is vivid that the wood belongs to God himself.

The capitalization of the pronoun ‘He’ also makes us easy to understand the fact that the owner of the wood is God. The speaker of the poem is riding on a horse. He is a traveller. In fact, he is on his way to a certain destination but the beauty of the snowy environment makes him stop his horse and see the beauty of nature. He is sure that the owner of the wood would not see him. Therefore, he can get the pleasure of the beauty as much as he wishes.

At the same time, he looks at his horse and finds it as sensible as a man. He believes that the horse must have been surprised to find him stopping in such a dark snowy environment in the midst of the forest. His horse shakes the bell to make him continue the journey. In the final stanza, when the bell of the horse makes him aware of his aim constantly, the poet leaves the beautiful and sublime place and continues his journey.

The poet further informs us that the beauty of the very place was lovely, dark and deep but at the same time, he has so many responsibilities and obligations to fulfil before he goes to sleep i.e. his death. Hence, he cannot enjoy the beauty of the forest any longer as we, human beings can’t do. In the poem, the poet describes his journey. It is an evening. He is riding a horse. He is alone in the deep and dark forest. The snow is falling. There is not any house nearby. The lakes are frozen and he does not hear any sound except snow falling and the wind.

On the way through the beautiful forest, he is enchanted by the natural setting. So he stops his horse to enjoy this environment. The horse rings its bell. It feels strange because there are not any houses or men then he feels that he has to go miles ahead before he sleeps. So he decides to continue his journey.

This poem may be trying to say that duty is more important than anything else. We have to carry our duty even if we feel it is difficult. We will not have only enjoyment but will also have bitter moments in our lives. We must face that happiness and tragedy until we live in the world. We cannot avoid them because they are attached to our lives. 'Stopping by Woods a Snowy Evening' is a natural poem composed by Robert Frost. In this poem, the poet has described how a man gets impressed by beautiful natural sights.

The poet is on his way home on his house in the snowy evening. There is a beautiful forest on the way and he stops the horse and himself to see its peace and beauty. The breeze and downy lake have added beauty to the peaceful forest. Being night there's no one to break this silence. The horse feels surprised at being stopped. There is not a farmhouse nearby and the darkness is growing. Now the poet can't stop more because he has promised to reach his goal before he sleeps.


The speaker of the poem is actually a representation of a real human being. In reality, all of us are travellers in our life. It begins right from our birth and ends with our last breath. The forest is also symbolic here because it indicates the various attractive, luring events of our life, which try to make us forget our duty and responsibilities and enjoy our life in our own way. Similarly, the horse symbolizes the consciousness of the speaker’s mind. Whenever we meet something beautiful or pleasant events of our life, we become unconscious and tend to forget the tasks to our family, friends and society.

What reminds us of our duty is certainly our conscious mind! In fact, all of us have the miles to go before we meet our ultimate friend death. Hence, the poem is capable of presenting the beauty of nature on the one hand and the factual history of each human being on the other. The poet may be trying to tell us that peace and beauty can't be separated from life. Sometimes one can find unexpected peace and beauty on the way of one's long journey of life. In spite of the long journey, one stops to see natural beauty.

But one has to move to fulfil one's promise or responsibility before death. Responsibility is more important, lack and one should even neglect other things for the sake of duty and responsibility. In this poem, the poet talks about the sense of beauty and sense of duty. The poem is about human life and duty.

Human life is full of obstacles and hardships. But one must be patient and courageous to overcome this to fulfil the promise of his/her life. If one fails to understand such aspects of life, he/she can never get success in his/her life. The poem can be interpreted symbolically by addressing such aspects which always tried to divert the human from their way of life. But man being conscious of it should continue his pace of life forgetting everything.

Critical Thinking

Though the poem is able to capture the beauty of nature, it also raises some questions as we go through the poem. Life is to be lived and enjoyed but Robert Frost defines it only with the duties and responsibilities. Is our life just to travel miles after miles? Is not it to take some relaxation to be in the lap of nature and feel the eternity? Of course, it is.

Similarly, the poet has looked the life from one perspective only. Nature is not the only beautiful thing that everyone desires. There are other several products of modern science and technology which have become an inseparable part of the modern world. They have become a source of entertainment and Frost does not talk about this fact. Frost makes an animal, horse, more intelligent than a human being.

Has a modern man become so dull that he needs an animal to remind his aim? Certainly not. Despite these questions, the poem is sweet, melodious and appealing. Natural beauty gives real pleasure to the spectators. But can beauty and peace disturb all people when they are making a long journey in a hurry? Do all people keep their promises? Can a man enjoy the beauty and peace in the snowing night when the chilly wind is blowing? Do all people fulfil their duty and responsibility before death? Can animals feel like human beings? can a man enjoy peace and beauty in the dark if he is in a hurry? So, I couldn't totally agree with the poet.

So far the poem talks about human life and duty, it is very impressive. But in many respects, the speaker fails to give very convincing incidence such as how does the writer feel stopping at the lonely woods? Here the horse is shown as if it were giving information about the harshness of the climate. Is it possible for the horse to notice and inform about it? How does one travel along the path alone which is full of falling snow?


I visited Pokhara last year. It was the first time I had been in my maternal uncle’s home. The panoramic view of nature nourished my heart. The flight of the birds in the open, clean sky made me forget the essence of the zoo in my hometown, Kathmandu. The reflection of Machhapuchhre in the crystal water of Phewa lake made me contemplate the beauty of the Kailash Parvat, the abode of Lord Shiva. The clear and freshwater of the streams provided new energy in my veins.

I wished I could live in such a jocund company of nature longer. At the same time, my exam was approaching and I was forced to return to Kathmandu and do my duties of preparing for the examination. Nature really changes the mind of human beings. There is a beautiful hill above my house. Last year I went to celebrate the Dashain festival with my family. On the way, the bus broke down and I was late by three hours. When I reached the hill, it was twilight. I saw many beautiful scenes on the hill and I even forgot where I was going. The birds were twittering and a gentle air was blowing. I was a bit tired. It was getting dark. Although I would enjoy seeing the scene, I had to walk for three hours to reach home. At last, I left the beautiful scene and went home.

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