BY ROBERT FROST
Robert Frost takes another opportunity in using poetry to highlight human relationships in his poem “Mending Wall.” This by far was the most difficult poem by Frost I’ve encountered so far. I used some information on the internet to give me more understanding about it. From what I understand, the poem deals with the theme of human separation and a desire to conquer it.
The poem’s opening line says that there is “something that does not love a wall.” The “wall” in question serves as the focus of the poem, the primary symbol the speaker discusses. When the speaker attempts to repair a wall with a gaping hole, he invites his neighbor to help him repair it. The speaker mentions that “we keep the wall between us as we go.” The wall here serves as a metaphor for separation; there is something that divides both of these characters, and it goes beyond physical limitations. The neighbor looks at the speaker and says “good fences make good neighbors.” In the neighbor’s eyes, he can serve his fellow man best by separating himself from the community at large. He does not wish to unite himself into the common bond of society; he wants to be an individual who depends on his own personal intuition for happiness.
The speaker is unsettled by his neighbor’s view. He wants to convince him that being sociable is more fulfilling than being isolated. He thinks to himself, “Spring is the mischief in me/ And I wonder if I could put a notion in his head:/ Why do they make good neighbors?” The springtime represents a light-hearted state, one full of a renewal of life. It is open and vibrant. But the word “mischief” contrasts itself denotatively as an evil scheme for some foul purpose. Yet in this context it is more playful than anything else; he wants to simply trick his neighbor into thinking of life in a different way. he wants to convince his neighbor that his life philosophy is irrational, at best. However, the neighbor will not submit to the speaker’s exhortation: he moves “in darkness,” in the cold dictates of his own heart, repeating his resolution “good fences make good neighbors.” The speaker has failed in his mission.