Stopping by woods on a snowy evening by Dickinson
SETTING, IMAGERY AND IRONY IN “STOPPING BY WOODS ON A SNOWY EVENING” The poem stopping by woods on snowy evening through a simple depiction of a scene of nature brings about some serious questions about life of man and his existence. Man’s dilemma has been beautifully highlighted through setting, images and the pervasive irony.
The setting of the poem draw before us the picture of a village evening during snow time when there are familiar scenes of snow on woods and all farmhouse objects are covered with snow. The serenity of the poem has been enhanced through the setting which also creates an environment of calmness. The rider, who is the sole human character in the setting, thinks the scene worth seeing and wants to enjoy his temporary stop before reaching at his ultimate destination.
The poem is replete with images from nature. The snow, the woods, farmhouse, frozen lake all are the part of a scene of nature. But all these images are not there to enhance the scenic beauty of the setting; rather they convey some deeper meanings. The images have been used symbolically and they refer to some serious realities of life. The traveler’s temporary stay near woods has temporarily bewitched the rider who has for the time being forgot what he has to accomplish. The rider at the inquisitive gesture of the horse comes out of this transient situation and thinks upon the permanent realities of his life which remind him that he has “ miles to go” before sleep. The traveler’s temporary sojourn is like man’s timely stay in this world during which he gets entangles into the beauties and charms of this world and forgets about his permanent destination. The sleep is the symbol of death. The horse seems to be man’s consciousness which through “harness bells” recalls to his mind the final destination. The bells also remind us of the religion which through church bells remind us of our duty towards our creator.
The element of the irony in the poem can be felts through an inner struggle between the horse rider’s sense of duty and the temptation for transient pleasures. Thoughthe rider pretends to have sense of duty, y et his fascination with the scene show where his heart lie. The conscious call comes from the horse not from the man. The theme of the poem is revealed to us when we deeply analyze the setting and the images of the poem. Every object or character (either human or animal) alludes to something else.
Tiempo, Edilberto K., Miguel A. Bernad, and Edith L. Tiempo. Introduction to Lietrature:Fiction Poetry
and Drama. Quezan City: Rex Printing, 1999. Print.