Saturday, 31 October 2015

Mending Wall                                                                                Robert Frost

Robert Frost is the greatest American poet. His poems are written in simple style. They contain profound truths, which are of universal appeal. ‘The Road not taken’, ‘Birches’, ‘Stopping by woods on a snowy Evening’, ‘Mending Wall’ are best examples. In Mending Wall, Frost exposes the stupidity of the primitive saying ‘Good fences make good neighbours’ and establishes the truth that Nature hates a wall. We are all walled in and also walled out by thousands of ugly walls such as state, religion, caste, wealth, poverty, nationality etc.  The simplicity and felicity of this poem is hard to match. His poems begin in delight and end in wisdom.

At the outset of the poem, Frost says that some power in Nature does not love a wall because wall is an evil thing, which destroys the brotherhood of man. It is very opposite to freedom. The poet’s farm is full of apple trees and his neighbour’s farm is all pine trees. So there is no need of a wall. But his neighbour insists that good fences make good neighbours. So there is a wall between the two neighbours. But every year at spring mending season, the wall is broken in many places. They believe that these gaps are made in the wall by hunters. They wanted to catch rabbits for their dogs. The ground is frozen in the winter season and there is swelling on the ground and the boulders are thrown out making gaps in the wall. But in fact no one has seen the hunters catching rabbits. Similarly the ground is not frozen in the winter season. Even then the wall is broken in many places in a strange manner. So the poet believes that some unknown power does not love a wall. That is why the wall is collapsed.

Every year at spring time the two neighbours choose a day to repair the wall. The narrator does not like this work of repairing the wall. His fingers are worn out handling the rough boulders. Even the Nature is against this wall for some boulders are ball shaped and others look like loaves. So it is hard time for the poet to put these boulders on top of another.  After a day’s hard work, somehow the gaps are filled with boulders and keep the wall between the two neighbours. The narrator tells his neighbour about the futility of this repairing of the wall every year. It is waste of time, money and energy. There is no need of a wall. But his neighbour believes in the old proverb:  “Good fences make good neighbours”. The poet asks him how good fences make good neighbours.

The neighbour lives in spiritual darkness. He cannot change his old ideas. He was like a savage carrying huge boulders in his hands. They are his weapons. Such ‘neighbours’ never follow modern ideas. They never think, but blindly follow what they are taught by their elders.  They always stick on to the age-old beliefs and customs and create all sorts of troubles in the world. We all know that there are thousands of such dangerous walls, which wall out some people and wall in some others. Religions and nationalities are the biggest walls, which separate man from man. Many wars in the world have been created and millions of people are killed. Such ‘neighbours’ should be taught that we need love in place of the wall. If there is love between man and man all kinds of walls can be disappeared from the earth. In the absence of love, walls are created between man and man. All these walls create a lot of problems and waste of money and energy. Besides, there is no communication possible between man and man, which may lead to suspicion and treachery, intrigue and killing. Every year each country in the world spends huge amounts for making weapons and increase military expenses. All these expenses can be avoided if all the boundary walls are abolished and the idea of a world nation is established. Thus, the poem Mending Wall ends in wisdom giving us a great message about our world and ourselves.

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