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The Mending Wall by Robert Frost

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 617
  • Category: Frost

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Oral Presentation – Mending Walls The persona’s further description creates an imagery that illustrates how hard it is to maintain and balance the barrier. It reads, “We have to use a spell to make them (the boulders) balance, stay where you are until our backs are turned.” The spell, again cannot be true in the real world, shows that they need to use imaginary power to maintain balances, since the nature of the “boulder”, “balls” and “loaves”, or in the metaphorical terms, the barriers between the two friends, cannot maintain itself on that position, but moves away and dismantles the barrier. This illustrates that the distance between friends are hard to maintain, and the persona actually do not want to maintain it. The imagery of “pine” and “apple orchard” is one of the major imageries that explains the theme. It reads: “There where it is we do not need the wall: He is all pine and I am apple orchard.

My apple trees will never get across and eat the cones under his pines.” It is obvious that Robert Frost does not literally mean that apple tree can move and eat cones, but this imagery serves as a metaphor that the persona and his friend are different, perhaps in personality, culture or living style. Pine and apple have very distinct colour and shapes, and I think what the poet is trying to communicate is that even the two friends are different, there is not need to build up a barrier between their friendship because they will not offend or interrupt each other’s life, just like “my apple trees will never get across and eat the cones under his pines”. From this view it could be interpreted that Robert Frost himself actually questions the need of the wall since they would not invade each other’s lives. The last major imagery that helps illustrate the theme is the imagery of his neighbour in the woods. It reads, “Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top in each hand, like an old stone savaged armed.”

The stone the neighbour is holding coincides with the boulders that are used to build the wall between the two territories, and maybe it is to show even when the neighbour is leaving, he still thinks about mending the wall. An alternative reading would be that the neighbour is so defensive that he uses the two stones as potential weapons, and therefore “like an old stone savaged armed”. The word savage is applied to the supposedly modern neighbourhood, which shows his natural instincts to protect his own territory or in metaphorical terms, his own living style, culture or personality. Using the word savage also have a slightly negative meaning that the neighbour’s view is conservative, and this coincides with the next line, “he will not go behind his father’s saying, and he likes having thought of it so well.

He says again, ‘Good fences makes good neighbour.’” An image of a father would be conservative and traditional, which is a savage instinct to establish defence even with friends. It can be interpreted that Robert Frost, from the imagery, may not agree that there should be a barrier between friends. In conclusion, Robert Frost in the poem uses a lot of interesting and meaningful imageries, such as apple trees and pine trees, cows, imaginary creatures and the neighbour’s description to effectively illustrate the theme and also his disagreement towards the relationship barrier established between the persona and his neighbour. It can be concluded that, as I interpreted, the relationship will remain stable if the two friends do not invade each other’s style of living, personality and cultures or other differences in life.

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