Mending Wall

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  • Mending Wall
    • Frost uses blank verse for the form of the poem. Blank verse is unrhymed and mostly employs iambic pentameter, five feet per line, to drive the narrative:
      • "Something there is that doesn't love a wall,That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,And spills the upper boulders in the sun;And makes gaps even two can pass abreast."
    • Sometimes trochaic meter is used but usually iambs rule within the ten syllables per line, which keeps the wall intact but leaves room for modification. However, lack of end-rhyme in blank verse denies the purely lyrical so the poet is certain that all 45 lines will have an individual sound.
      • Frost's genius lies in his diction and delivery - he's colloquial yet profound, and there are lines here that stay in the memory because they have a certain rhythm and music. They tempt the mind and please the voice.
        • As the poem progresses the differences between the two become more marked. By line 14 the two neighbors are walking either side of the wall, picking up and replacing various shaped boulders until they reach some trees where there might not be a need for a wall.
          • The speaker goads the other protagonist. This is Frost the poet spicing things up with mischief and fun by suggesting this annual, seasonal walk is nothing more than a game, that one neighbor is all pine and the other an apple orchard.
    • Tension becomes apparent as soon as the line Good fences make good neighbors appears, for it is this reply that sparks the speaker's need to know why a wall (a fence) can make somebody good.
      • When a wall is built, something is walled in and something is walled out. It becomes easier to offend someone so it's best to know beforehand just exactly why a wall needs to be constructed. Little wonder President Kennedy used Frost's lines when speaking at the Berlin Wall in the 1960s.
        • I am both wall builder and wall destroyer,' Frost wrote to his friend Charles Foster. Meaning? As a poet words are used to build up something solid and hopefully enduring whilst at the same time a poet needs to break down walls that are no longer needed and are in fact obstacles to progress.


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