English 254                   Class #4   Wed, April 9

Robert Frost: Nothing Gold, Stopping by Woods, Mending Wall


“Nothing Gold Can Stay”

1.      How do you explain the paradoxes—apparent contradictions—in lines 1 and 3?



2.      Why does Frost use the word “subsides” in line 5 rather than a word like “expands” or “grows”?



3.      How are “Nature’s first green,” “Eden,” and “dawn” linked together?




4. What are the symbolic meanings of “gold” in the final line?




5. What is the subject of this poem? What is the theme—the point about the poem’s subject?




"Stopping by Woods"

1. What is the poem about? Who is the speaker and what is the situation?



2. What contrasts are suggested between the speaker and his horse? Between the speaker and the owner of the woods?



3. What is the atmosphere of the poem: place, weather, time, narrator’s tone?



4. What kind of imagery is used in the poem? Is there a pattern?



5. What’s the rhyme scheme? Is there a rhyme pattern?



6. When first published, there was a comma after the word "dark" in line 13. Afterward, Frost took it out. What's the difference?



7. The last stanza seems to offer two alternative attitudes and courses of action. What are they? Which does the speaker choose?



“Mending Wall”

1. How does the speaker feel about his neighbor? How does he feel about the wall? How does the neighbor feel about the wall?




2. Is the wall a symbol? If so, for what?



3. What does Frost’s phrase “Spring is the mischief in me” mean?



4. In bringing up elves in line 36, is Frost being serious, or is this more spring mischief?




5. In "Mending Wall," Frost makes two important statements twice each ("Something there is that doesn't love a wall," and "Good fences make good neighbors"), with different implications from the context of each instance. How would you interpret the second instance of each statement?




6. Is Frost's point that the world would be better if every wall were destroyed, every barrier pulled down, or is it that walls, where useful, are much to be desired?