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People throughout the world have various opinions in regard to the use of fences. Some people believe that fences are necessary, while others believe that they are nothing more than a means of separation between people. All through Robert Frost's poem "Mending Wall," the speaker hints at several reasons why he does not agree with his neighbor that "good fences makes good neighbors" (27, 45). Frost creates a distinct persona with a distinct opinion about fences through his use of symbolism, imagery and figures of speech. The speaker's feelings toward the wall are not like that of his neighbor's. He does not see it as something that is loved saying twice in the poem, "Something there is that doesn't love a wall" (1, 35). The speaker does not understand the need for the wall. He is convinced that there isn't a logical reason as to the why the wall must remain standing. The speaker's dislike for the wall is revealed when he says, "There where it is we do not need a wall!
The symbol that "Mending Wall" depends most upon is the wall itself. The wall takes on two different meanings in the poem. The first is a literal meaning. The wall actually does exist as a physical barrier that separates the neighbors. However, throughout the poem, the wall begins to take on a symbolic meaning. The wall comes to stand for an emotional and mental barrier as well as a physical one. The speaker questions himself about the purpose of walls asking, "Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it where there are cows? But here there are no cows" (30-31). The speaker does not see the purpose of the fence because neither his neighbor nor himself have any cows to wall in or out. Only if one or both of the men had animals that needed to be kept distant from the property of the other, would there be a need for a wall. At this point the speaker begins to see the wall as a barrier that separates people and not as something that is necessary. A very important and tho!
ught provoking question occurs toward the end of the poem when the speaker says, "Before I built a wall I'd ask to know what I was walling in or out" (32-33). The wall takes on a more significant meaning through this question because the wall becomes a symbol for separation. Because there aren't any animals to seclude, the speaker assumes that the only purpose of the wall is to isolate themselves from one another. The speaker feels that he has been offended by the fact that his neighbor wants no interaction with him. He questions himself again saying, "And to whom I was like to give offense" (34). The speaker doesn't understand why his neighbor insists on keeping the wall. In this way, the barrier not only separates people in society because of their race or beliefs, but it can also form a barrier in relationships with others, limiting friendships and ultimately happiness. "Mending Wall" as a title indicates
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- "Mending Wall," the speaker hints at several reasons why he does not agree with his neighbor that "good fences makes good neighbors"
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