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Mending Walls

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“Mending Wall” by Robert Frost

The harsh reality of life is that many of us put up walls for no reason other than we were told by someone, or it was passed down from generation to generation without question. We will erect walls around types of people, places, religion, and things without understanding why we even do it. “Mending Wall” by Robert Frost portrays a view that we are seeing today around the world. So many groups of people all walled off from each other, and it does not allow them to become friends or to understand each other’s culture. When the wall comes down, people figure out that all of us want the same things out of life.
Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall” is about walls that people set up for no reason whatsoever. Frosty shows quickly that there is something wrong when he begins the point with “something there is that does not love a wall” (563). The poem tells the story of two landowners who appear to be following a tradition that has been passed down from father to son. They never discuss the importance of the wall; however, they meet every year to walk their respective sides of the wall and attempt to repair it. The poem leads the reader to believe that they repair this wall only once a year after each winter. The leakage from either side of the wall is not the entire reason for the task. The speaker goes as far as to say to the stones themselves “stay where you are until our backs are turned” (563); this would lead you to believe that there is no reason for the wall to be there. The owner uses their land for their respective priorities, and it appears that what they are doing does not affect either’s operation. One would like to take the wall down, and the other wants to keep the status quo. He has no reason for why the wall needs to stay except to say, “That a good wall makes good neighbors”(563). Bruce Myers in his review of “Mending Wall” talks about the delicate difference between the two fields: “he is all pines, and I am apple orchards”. This is a world of borders where the setting is more than a backdrop to the meaning of the action, and the point is a metaphor for separateness(Myers). Frost strikes a note of humor in his wall mending observance “my apple trees will never get across and eat the cones under his pines”(563). This is the one of the most powerful statements in the poem. The poem identifies that Frost is looking at more than the land that the wall divides him and his neighbor. It represents a worldview of society during that time. It may also be a clever way the author warned us of the impending issues that will continue to arise if society continues to wall itself of from each other. In the poem where it says, “he will not go behind his father” (563) the author is identified how entrenched this type of thinking has been ingrained and how difficult it is to change.
Davison and Williams in their review of "Mending Walls" talks about the negative images that walls and fences can conjure up and how they influences our lives every day. The walls and the fence are metaphors for keeping people in or out without identifying why they should be there (Davison and Williams). The land owner understood when he talk about “before I build a wall I’d asked to know what I was walling in or walling out and to whom I was like to give offense something there is that does not love a wall that I want it down” (563). Clearly there is a concern as to why the wall is dividing neighbors without even understanding the impact that the wall has on both of their relationships. He would like to know who, and why he is walling them in or out before he erects or destroy this wall.
This poem reflects society’s tendencies to separate, segregate any problems for no other reason than that it is a way things have always been. We do too many things today without question. These norms are set by where we choose to live, by the clothing we wear and friends that we keep. In Mending Wall, it portrays our tendencies not to question why we are doing a particular behavior. It allows us to turn a blind eye on what a wall in society represents and in turn perpetuate behavior that no one knows how it started. In many cases, people are heartbroken and confused as to why the same people whom they go to school with, played sports with, and go to church with would allow these walls exist. I often question why these walls ever existed many historians have attempted to figure it out, as well. Too many of us today are comfortable with “Mending Wall” even though we know that the wall is not necessary.

Works Citied
Frost Robert “Mending Wall” Reading, Literature, and Writing Arguments Boston: Pearson Fifth Edition 2013 Page 563-564
Davis Robbie and Ed Williams “Fences and between Fences: cultural historical and Smithsonian’s” source Journal of the Southwest 50.3 (August 2008) pages 243 From the Literary Source Center, November 2013
Myers Bruce Critical Essay on” Mending Wall” poetry for students Volume 5 Detroit’s Gale group 1999 Literary Research Ctr., November 2013

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