Stopping by Woods on a Snowy EveningDiscussion questions and related resources for the poem by Robert Frost
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
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.
Questions for Discussion and Writing
1. Describe the form and structure of the poem. Does it have a specific meter, and if so, what is it? Does it have a rhyme scheme, and if so, what is it? How is the poem structured in terms of lines and stanzas? Do these structural aspects of the poem contribute to its effect in any way?
2. Consider the significance of the poem’s imagery (not just visual imagery, but other sensory imagery). What emotional significance do you think these images convey? Cite specific examples.
3. Think carefully about the tone of the poem in terms of both the poem’s meaning and the narrator’s attitude. How would you describe the poem’s tone?
4. In poetry, every word is important, and surface meanings shouldn’t necessarily be taken at face value. Why do you think the speaker devotes an entire stanza to the anonymous owner of the woods—what significance might that owner have?
5. What evidence is there in the poem regarding the length of time the speaker spends gazing into the woods? How might this detail be significant? How does the horse react to the situation, and what might this reaction imply?
6. What figurative meaning(s) does sleep have, and what connection might this have to the poem’s imagery? Why do you think the speaker repeats the last line?
7. What do you think the poem is about?
The Poetry Foundation: Robert Frost (Biography, selected poems, related content)
Robert Frost Reading “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”
A Lover’s Quarrel with the World (1963 Documentary)