In this essay, we will analyze and research the archetypal elements present in Robert Frost’s works.
Critical Analysis Assignment
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost
By critically analyzing this short prose from an archetypal perspective, one can establish the mood and tone present in “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” By examining key archetypal categories such as character and situation types, as well as symbols and associations, one can determine the emotional and transformative effects of this poem. The poem’s structure is simple, written in a first-person narrative without any character names. This allows us to focus on the protagonist’s true nature.
The main character in this text is an unknown adult male. He is accompanied by his horse and together they venture into a white forest. He is a loner who takes comfort in being alone, as evident in the line “The forests are lovely, dark and deep.” This shows that he finds solace in the empty forests. Another reference to his isolation can be found towards the end of the poem, where he mentions having miles to go before he sleeps. This suggests that he is willingly alone and has been isolated for a long time. These incidents indicate that the main character is the typical outcast, ignored and not belonging to any group.
Once the archetypical character type is established, the situation can be addressed. Winter seems to be a recurring innuendo, evident from both the title and mentions in this prose. Death is often associated with winter. The poem frequently refers to the “darkest evening of the year” as the first day of winter. In the woods, winter represents a time of death; trees have shed their leaves and darkness prevails more than any other season. Towards the end, the main character reiterates, “I have promises to maintain.”
Before I go to sleep, there are many miles to travel. This not only represents my loneliness, but it also suggests the possibility of rebirth. The phrase “miles to go” could imply that there is more to come in the future for both me and the forest after death. Hence, the underlying theme here is that of death and rebirth.
The winter night symbolizes death, while spring signifies the rejuvenation of the forest. Similarly, the man may also experience a rebirth, as he mentions the miles he has yet to travel before he sleeps.
The use of certain symbols highlights the subject of death and metempsychosis. Darkness has a strong presence in the poem, as the man was walking in the forest on the darkest evening of the year. This darkness not only signifies the beginning of winter, but also emphasizes the lifelessness and dullness of the thick covered forest. However, this darkness is not portrayed as evil, unlike how it is typically described. Instead, the man finds beauty in the lovely, dark, and deep forest and feels tranquility in its darkness. The dark imagery of the forest conceals its previously mentioned dead image. According to the man’s perception, this darkness hides the flaws that the forest is said to possess during winter. The line mentioning “easy wind and downy flake” alludes to light. The pureness of the snow, depicted as white, symbolizes light, which is often associated with whiteness as well. Therefore, the archetypical symbols and connections present revolve around light and darkness.
Thus, all these originals can be connected to capture the mood of the poem. The mood is very gentle, similar to the protagonist, who is not afraid of being alone in the dark forests. It is calming, as depicted through the man’s emotions towards the forests. They provide solace to him, allowing him to contemplate his purpose in life. The displayed originals can merge to convey both the comforting and gentle tone present in this poem.