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Poetry Analysis: Robert Frost - “Mending Wall” (Essay Sample)

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Poetry Analysis Essay - Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature 11th Edition
Your Poetry Analysis Essay will be an analysis (or explication) of a poem from our textbook. The poem may be of your choosing as long as it's in the text and doesn't already have a detailed explanation in the book. (If you would like to write about a poem that is not in our text, you must have it approved by me first.)
You will also need to find at least two research sources on your selected poem. Your paper should summarize the poem, provide a basic description of the poem, identify important formal aspects of the poem (like rhyme scheme or meter), and include a discussion of the themes, tone, imagery, speaker, etc.
Your paper will need a title, introduction, well-developed body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The title of your essay should give the author and the title of the poem. Your introduction should draw the reader into the topic and contain your thesis statement, which prepares your reader for your analysis. The body paragraphs should focus on the following areas:

  • summary of the poem,
  • identification and discussion of formal aspects of the poem (such as form, length, the significance of the title, imagery, metaphor/simile, sound effects, alliteration/assonance, rhythm, meter, etc.),
  • discussion of the effect of the formal aspects on the poem (such as whether or not the rhyme scheme influences the meaning of the poem, how well the title prepares you for the poem, impact of imagery on the reading process, etc.),
  • identification and discussion of the poem's theme or themes (the focal issue(s) or question(s) of the poem), and identification and discussion of the tone of the poem.
Be sure you also write an adequate conclusion. The conclusion should summarize the main ideas of the paper and answer the question of “so what?”
This essay should be approximately three (3) pages in length, so choose a poem that has some substance to it to properly develop your paper. For this paper, to help in your analysis of the poem, you should use two research sources in addition to the textbook. At least one of these two outside sources should be a book or a journal article. You can find good scholarly articles using the electronic databases and journals on the library's website. The other outside source can be a general internet source. DO NOT use study guide websites like Sparknotes, Cliff Notes, Pink Monkey, Gradesaver, etc. In addition, avoid sources like dictionaries, the Bible, or news stories. Your sources should be more substantial resources, preferably literary criticism found through the library. Please use quotes from the poem using line numbers instead of page numbers. You will include a works cited page to include the poem (from the textbook) and your minimum of two research sources.

 

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Robert Frost: “Mending Wall.”
Nature, as a creation, has no walls and social constructions which subject humanity to divisions based on its self-made insecurities. The poem, Mending Wall, by Robert Frost invites the audience to the speaker's dilemma where he struggles to understand, and even questions, the essence of repairing the existing wall though he cannot stop taking part in maintaining it himself. Albeit irrational to him, the narrator challenges the current status quo but being a part of the problem himself, he has no option but conforming to the social norms.
As the title suggests, the poem is about two neighbors who meet every spring season of the year to make repairs on the damages of the wall separating them. The narrator takes the neighborly initiative of calling out the neighbor when the time comes for the joint task force to get to the annual routine (Line 12). Mutual respect and responsibility exist between the two. However, the narrator airs his reservations about the routine activity and questions the validity of the wall's existence. Walls are for livestock he purports, and unnecessary for apples and pine trees owners (Line 24). He is keen to observe factors influencing and supporting his opposition to maintaining the wall between the two households. The speaker points to the natural aspects and forces of nature that continually seek to bring down the wall only for the two to jointly make the necessary amends (Line 2). The other partner in the annual joint repair venture seems content with the tradition and providing no rational reason other than, “Good fences make good neighbors” enjoys making the repairs and looks forward to the next time (Line 27). Seeing the speck in his neighbor's eye, the speaker cunningly attacks his archaic beliefs to convince him out of adhering to the old traditions to no avail (Line 29). The narrator fails to remove both the plank in his eye, as he is also part of the system erecting and maintaining walls, and the speck in his neighbor who adamantly holds on to his traditional belief, “Good fences make good neighbors,” (Line 45).
Robert Frost poem, Mending Wall, is a first-person narration of a forty-five line blank verse. Thus it has no stanzas but utilizes a five feet per line iambic pentameter in the narrative (Meyer Michael, 2016). The poem also lacks end-rhymes, and the fact that it has no stanza breaks denies the reader a lyrical twist that some may enjoy. However, the lack of rhyming patterns ensures that each line has its sound. The poet also employs internal rhyme and assonance on various occasions

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