(G) Od Fences Make Good Neighbors Analysis

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Robert Frost explores the age old argument over society’s need to establish barriers. The story unfolds as two farmers engage in the activity of mending their fence lines. One of the farmers, the narrator, begins to doubt the purpose and benefit of the wall and tries to convince his neighbor that repairing it is a silly pursuit. Interestingly, the change in tactic occurs after they have been at it for a while and the speaker complains “(W)e wear our fingers rough with handling them [the stones]“ (line 20). Perhaps weariness is a motivator for progress here. The neighbor seems unfazed by either the work or the narrator’s cajoling and continues with the repair; replying with a steadfast, “(G)ood fences make good neighbors” (45). The poem is told in the first person by an apple farmer checking his property walls at “spring mending-time” (11). The setting is not made clear in the poem but can safely be assumed to be New England based on the composition of the two properties’ trees: apples and pine (24), as well as the common use of stone walls. The combination is iconic New England farmland. Frost frequently sets his poems in New England also leading the reader to assume that locale. The reader meets only two characters in the poem. The protagonist is an apple farmer and our narrator. The apple farmer’s neighbor acts as the foil by …show more content…

He even goes so far as to hint that his neighbor’s desire to keep the wall is offensive (30-34). The narrator now does not seem to know the man across from him, “(H)e moves in darkness as it seems to me,”(41). It is as though not seeing eye-to-eye on this fundamental question has drawn his friend in a new light. His attitude toward the neighbor is now somewhat spiteful. There is real disdain for the neighbor who is seen as clinging to the past and fighting progress as he replies a final time, “Good fences make good

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