A Western Point of View

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I was immediately struck by the first line of the poem by what is, at least in my mind, a very western point of view. Frost begins by musing "Whose Woods these are..." This concept of owning the land, or assigning individual spaces to every person, is an idea that originated from the Western Society. I'm not sure what Frost means by it, or indeed, even if he does it on purpose. However, I think that if nothing else it shows us a little bit about Frost's background. Frost, who seems to respect nature almost to the point of infatuation (especially evident in The Pasture) seems to have no problem with the moral dilemma of the land being owned by someone. Perhaps he does it on purpose, hiding some cryptic message that flew over my head, but I don't think so. Instead, I think that Frost's first line betrays his 19-20th century way of thinking. Sure, maybe if the narrator was walking across someone's front lawn or down a road he could contemplate whom the land belongs to reasonably. But woods? Woods are often seen as everyone's, or no ones. I've never heard of anyone who owned woods. In general, if you own land, you utilize it for something. Whether it be farming or construction or wha tbe it, the idea of land being owned but not used seems strange to me. And thus in turn, so does Frost's assumption that the woods might belong to somebody.

Frost also touches on one of modern man's qualities (in comparison to early man or even man throughout the ages) in the final stanza. Frost depicts this man as too busy to stop and appreciate his surroundings. The narrator as too much to do, he simply must keep going, despite wanting to stay and admire the snow. This too, seems to be a vice of modern man. We often find ourselves in situations where we are far too busy to watch the sunset, or embark on a nature hike. How often do we hear the birds sing? Frost hits his audience hard by seizing a feeling which the reader is ignorant of  (a desire to spend more time with the little things) and bringing it out into the open so that as his readers set the poem down, each one of left with a longing to go out and watch the snow fill the woods; the readers are left seeking nature.



Sue said:

Carlos, I really like this entry, it made me sit and think for a minute. My aunt and uncle used to live in the woods, depending on the amount of land that they owned, they would have owned the woods around them or at least some of the woods. In this way you can own woods without being a farmer or a lumberjack. And if you think about it a lumberjack would never be allowed to cut down trees (if you lived in the woods) on your property without permission because you would own those tress.

Alyssa Sanow said:

Though the constant need to keep going maybe be a vice of modern man, it does not occur around the world! Americans and (as you so aptly mentioned in your title) participants in the westen world always have a need to keep going and live by the hands on a clock. The narrator is caught by this culture norm and cannot stay because he has "promises to keep."

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