Analyzing 20th Century Poetry


"Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost

The final stanza of Frost’s poem

“The woods are lovely, dark, and deep.

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.”

Can be interpreted many ways, but if it is to be interpreted literally, it must be taken into account that it was written in the 20th century. What was going on in that time that could give insight into exactly what Frost was saying? Well, the 20s were a time of great economic boom, and thus there was a great emphasis placed on wealth. So, if thinking of it as from Frost’s perspective, I would interpret it to mean “I would love to simply go into the darkness and never look back, but I cannot, as I have to support my family, and in order to do so, I have a long way to go before I can rest.”

“The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams

Although things seemed good for everyone in the 1920s there was one group of people that suffered: farmers. That’s what I think Williams is saying in his poem “The Red Wheelbarrow”. I think he’s saying that so much rests on him, his farming, on that red wheelbarrow beside the chickens, and he can’t provide it.