Critical Response Essay to 'Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening'

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“In three words I can sum up everything I have learned about life; it goes on”

Robert Lee Frost was born on March 26,1874, in San Francisco, California and died on January 29,1963,Boston, Massachusetts. He was an American poet and was commended for the illustration of the rural life in New England. His work was mainly focused on realistic verse which portrayed ordinary people in day-to- day situation.

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William Prescott Frost was the father of Robert. He was a journalist with ambition of pursuing his career in California. After the death of William, Robert, Isabelle Moodie Frost (the mother) and two other children moved to Massachusetts, and were taken by the paternal grandparents. Isabelle taught at different schools in Massachusetts and Hampshire. Robert Frost and his sister Jeanie Frost graduated in 1892. Robert was a top student in his class, he also shared valedictorian honours with Elinor White, with whom was in love with. Robert and Elinor had a great interest in poetry, but their education led them to different paths. Frost went to Dartmouth College and Elinor went to St Lawrence University. He pursued his education in poetry which he had begun in the high school. Robert achieved his first publication in the year 1894, when The Independent, a weekly literary journal, published his poem “My Butterfly: An Elegy”. He was quite impatient with his academic routine, which made him leave Dartmouth within a year. Robert and Elinor married in 1895, faced difficulties in being a young poet with no work, he supported his family with teaching school and farming. Within few years, six children were born, two of them died at early age. Robert decided to resume his college education at Harvard University in 1897, but left after two years.

After moving to Derry, New Hampshire, Robert became an avid botanist and obtained the poetic persona of New England rural sage. After spending 40 years as an unknown writer, Robert Frost became known by his works including ‘The Road Not Taken’. Some of the frost well known poem includes:

  1. The Road Not Taken
  2. Fire and Ice
  3. Birches
  4. Home Burial
  5. Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening
  6. Out, Out

Frost was awarded Pulitzer Prizes, for his book New Hampshire, Collected Poems( 1931), A Further Range (1937) and A Witness Tree ( 1943)

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

Introduction to poem

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening is a poem written by Robert Frost in the year 1922. Robert was working the entire night on his poem “New Hampshire” and when he finished, he realised that the sun was out. He went to see the sunrise and suddenly had the idea for his new poem “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening”. The poem describes a serene forest scene from the perspective of the narrator who passing through the woods with his horse. The poem is written in iambic tetrameter. This poem is about the progression of time and life. The poet shares the idea of spirituality. He also tries to bring out the resemblance in life and darkness of the forest. Life is lovely, but there are difficulties as well as challenges. It a neat and tidy poem. The sound, images and words appeal to all.

Figure of speech

Alliteration- is the repetition of consonant sounds in the beginning of nearby words.

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow

The woods are lovely, dark and deep

Personification- is attribution of human characteristics to non- human object.

My little horse must think it queer

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake

The horse has the ability to think like humans, ask questions and point out mistakes.

Hyperbole- is an exaggerated statement

”To watch his woods fill up with snow”

Repetition- something that you do or happen again.

“And miles to go before I sleep

And miles to go before I sleep”

Imagery- is the name given to the elements in a poem that sparks the sense

“Between the woods and Frozen lake”

Development of thought

The poet tries to lose himself in the silent mystery of forest, away from the routine and regime of everyday life, if not for long, at least for some time. The sounds, words and images appeal to the readers. The woods and the snow symbolises peace and beauty which holds the narrator. The forest absorbs the ambience and ponder the mystery of life and nature.

Rhyme Scheme

First stanza- aaba

Second stanza- bbcd

Third stanza- ccdc

Fourth- dddd


The poem consists of four stanza, each with four lines which is also known as quatrain. Each line has eight syllables. The first syllable in each line is unstressed, the second stressed, third unstressed and so on. The poem is in iambic tetrameter.


Allegory and Symbolism-

Most of the critics and readers find the poem as an allegory with an inner meaning in addition to its surface meaning.

“Promise” symbolises the responsibilities in life.

“Sleep” symbolises the end of life.

The poet cannot enjoy the beauty of the forest as he has promises to keep and miles to go before he sleeps.

Message/ Personal Opinion

The beauty of the poem is that it gives the reader a clear picture of value keeping promises. The moral that I gain from this poem would be Responsibility. The man in the poem, even though he wants to enjoy and absorb the beauty of the woods, he still continue with his journey. He is impelled to move by the realisation of the duties and distance. More than responsibility, the narrator tells us to keep the trust and the promises that we have made. The last two lines of the stanza illustrates the keeping promises is the most beautiful thing in this world.

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Critical Response Essay to ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’. (2024, January 30). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 12, 2024, from
“Critical Response Essay to ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’.” Edubirdie, 30 Jan. 2024,
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