The Clash of Ideals in Robert Frost's Poem Mending Wall

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This week, we are taking a look into poetry and try to see what Robert frost was conveying when he wrote this poem. “Mending walls” a short poem that has two neighbors whom have a wall that continues to decay over time and they both for some reason continue to fix it every year around the same time. As this short poem continued on we are reading and trying to understand what the speakers primary goal is in the end. He has land on one side with apples and his neighbors the other with pines. The speaker it seems does not believe in walls but still repairs it due to it being there, as this neighbor does believe in them and wont change his mind, as he throughout the poem will say, “ Good Fences make good neighbors”. (Frost) So, in question, does the neighbors’ say about the wall bring the two together because of an old tradition and does it create good neighbors.

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ThWhen we look at the beginning of this poem, we see that the speaker describes the wall, and the causes of it as he continues to see the damage over the past year. “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.”(Frost) We can only assume now he is talking about some sort of tree that has grown next to the wall and it roots with the season are causing the wall to fall and create gaps that more than one person can walk through. Even here, he states that the, “The work of hunters is another thing:”(Frost) even the hunters, and their dogs that come and go, climbing over the wall they also knock down the wall. So it seems that nature will and its surrounding will no matter what continue to knock this wall over no matter how they put the rocks back up.

In this poem the speaker continues to walk the line of his wall, it seems he does not like wall at all yet he continues to assess the damages. In the poem the speaker refers to his neighbor as an, “old stone savage”(Frost) he sees him walking the line as well but carrying a rock to repair the wall. I am not quite sure what the author was trying to convey other than maybe making him just an old man stuck in his old ways and because the wall has been there and yet divides their property line, he won’t let it fall under his watch. So we look back in this poem and see that the one neighbor does want the wall and will repair it for whatever his old ideal is. But we have the speaker who does not want the wall and does not really care for it, but yet he continues to walk the wall to assess the damages. I would have to say that the real defender and repairer of the wall is actually the speaker himself, he is the one who notifies the neighbor in the spring for repairs, he also walks the wall all year identifying the issues.

This poem is great for showing that there are types of ideal that show there is a divide and a pride for one’s property. It shows the two neighbors are also individuals as they tend their own areas of land. But at the same time the saying of, “ Good Fences make good neighbors” (Frost) the reason I say this is no matter the two old men and their different view and ideal, they still meet each other and converse in and old fashion, it may just be to mend the wall but they are still neighbors and conduct themselves as such. It shows they have a neighborliness duty to make sure their property line whether they both agree on the way they tend to it every spring. This wall may restrict them in dividing their property and maybe a more developed relationship but nonetheless they still have one. So in question, does the neighbors’ saying about the wall bring the two together because of an old tradition and does it create good neighbors. I think it does, whether it is in a formal fashion or as property owner who are set in their old ways but yet still mend to the wall even though they don’t really have a need for it with no cows.

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