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"Mending Wall" By Robert Frost

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In this poem, Frost imagines two neighbors who meet once a year to repair the rock wall that separates their orchards. In this situation, the wall is a metaphor for the relationship between two people. The fact that they are neighbors suggests that these two people are emotionally close to each other, and the wall is the expression of the emotional barricade that separates them. In the poem, the speaker wants to tear down this barricade while his neighbor wants to keep it.

It is important that the speaker is the one who calls the neighbor to mend the wall; although, he does not think it is necessary. One reason might be that the speaker enjoys the company of his neighbor, and he intends to "mend" their friendship also. The speaker upholds that "Something there is that doesn't love a wall." (1) He thinks that the walls are no longer necessary. They only exist because they have always been there, and because no one has the courage to challenge their purpose. The speaker also points out to the neighbor that the wall is no longer useful because: "He is all pine and I am apple orchard. / My apple trees will never get across / And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him." (24) Yet, the recipient' only reaction is an inherited aphorism: "Good fences make good neighbors." (27) The speaker tries to change the neighbor's opinion, and admits that sometimes a wall has useful purposes; it stops animals escaping from one's field and ruining the neighbor's crop. However, when there is no need for a wall, it serves only to keep the two neighbors apart. He does not believe that there is something between them that need to be "walling in or walling out." (33) He is obviously worried because the neighbor he cares about is shutting him out, and he is unwilling or unable to "go behind his father's saying." (43)

People tend to build walls - emotional barricades - around them



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