Robert Frost Poetry – Emotional Barriers

Emotional Barriers
We all deal with our emotions in different ways.

Some of us shout them out and some of us bottle
them in. Whatever you choose to do is okay, as
long as it helps you. Robert Frost chooses to
touch on different ways of how he might react in
an emotional situation in his three poems:
“Mending Wall,” “The Road Not Taken,” and
“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” Each poem
deals with his emotions whether it is the barrier
walls that he keeps between himself and other, the
decisions he has to make or the how he chooses to
deal with all of these problems. When I read these
three poems, it forced me to think about my own
emotions and what I would do in each of these
situations.

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We have things that we dont want others to see.

Secrets that we dont want to share, misfortunes
and wrongdoings that we are too ashamed to speak
about. These are only a few of the many reasons
that we all keep emotional walls or barriers up.

They are there for our protection, or so we think.

We believe that by keeping people away, they can
not hurt us. This is true, but when we push them
away, what are we missing? Robert Frost
contemplates this exact issue in his poem “Mending
Wall.” The speaker in this poem doesnt know for
sure whether of not he wants to keep this wall up
between himself and his neighbor.

“Before I built a wall Id ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.”
He is worried about what he will miss by keeping
the wall up, yet he continues to help his neighbor
rebuild it. We all have times like this in our
lives. In a perfect world we would like to keep
our walls down and let everyone in, but we cant,
because we are still to scared to be able to trust
each other. Emotionally, it is much easier to live
and not get hurt by keeping people at a certain
distance. You can stop them from coming to close.

If you let them past your wall, youre letting
them into your mind. Youre telling them all your
secrets. Telling them about your past. Youre
inviting them in. This is wonderful at first, but
it leaves you wide open and vulnerable.

Unfortunately, this is the way I have chosen to
see it. I have been hurt too many times for me to
want to let anyone else in. This is not a good way
to live your life, but its the only way that
seems to keep me safe. Its kind of like climbing
a ladder to reach a prize. The higher you climb,
the closer to the prize, but you also have a much
bigger chance of falling. The less you climb the
less chance of getting hurt. I have climbed this
ladder one too many times, and each of them I have
fallen off right when I reach the top. This is why
I have chosen to keep my wall up; Im just tired
of falling.

Making this decision wasnt easy. In fact, it is
almost never easy to make an important decision.

You are always stuck wondering what would have
happened if you gone the other way. In Robert
Frosts poem “The Road Not Taken,” he wonders at
the difference it would have made in his life had
he chosen to go down the other path. This poem is
symbolic for every important (and even the not so
important) decisions you have had to make. How do
you know if you have made the right decision? Is
there even a right decision to make? Is each path
of the same importance to your life and you just
had to choose one? Will one make you fail? While
the other one make you succeed? These are all
questions that Frost has brought up in “The Road
Not Taken.”
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both”
We have all wanted to walk down both paths, see
what lies ahead, but we know that it is impossible
to do so. You can never go back and change your
decision. The thing that Frost has learned and
that we need to remember is that there are no
wrong decisions. Each path holds the same weight
in how your life will turn out. In “The Road Not
Taken,” he has decided that either path or
decision is just as good as the other:
“Then took the other, just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.”
You may choose to go down one road, thinking that
it is the “right” road, but years later you could
find out that it was probably bad to make that
decision. Or you could happen to make the “wrong”
decision and find out that it has helped you in
the end.

I made a choice like this in tenth grade. I chose
not to take the suggested math classes in order to
take a few more photography and art classes.

Everyone, except my parents I, believed that this
was a bad decision. “You need math, you dont need
art.” Thats what everyone said to me. They all
thought I was crazy and that I was sending my life
down the drain, but in fact, my decision to go
ahead and take those extra art classes has
probably saved the rest of my life. By taking
those classes in tenth grade I was able to get the
skills and credit I needed to be accepted into the
Minnesota Center for Arts Education (or Arts High
as we like to call it). For my senior year, I was
able to go to a school that was primarily focused
around the arts. Not only did my decision affect
my what highschool I went to, it also effected
what college I got into. From the reputation the
Arts High has, I was able to get into RISD. Who
knows whether or not I could have gotten in
without all the experience I had gained through
the simple decision on whether or not to take a
math class? As Frost says “Oh, I kept the first
for another day!” so did I. I ended up taking
those math classes that I had missed, at the Arts
High. But we know that you cant ever go back,
that the decision will always be different. In my
case the decision was different, it was better,
because at the Arts High they teach math that is
geared around the arts.

When you make an important decision, whether or
not things go the way you wanted them to, the
consequences can often leave you feeling depressed
or confused. We all have ways that we take care of
our problems, and one option is to get away from
it all and think. This is the way that Robert
Frost has chosen to deal with his problems in his
poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” When
Frost says that he is stopping “Between the woods
and frozen lake, The darkest evening of the year,”
we get the picture that whatever problems he was
dealing with he was not happy about them. Frost is
obviously bothered by something important. “My
little horse must think it queer, To stop without
a farmhouse near,” shows that he feels the need to
go somewhere empty, somewhere alone.

“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.”
When he says “But I have promises to keep,” he has
chosen either not to admit his problems to anyone
else, or maybe he cant even admit them to
himself. He admits that he has a lot more thinking
to do and that he has not come to a conclusion
when he states twice “And miles to go before I
sleep.” He is speaking figuratively here that
until he figures out what to do, he will not be
able to get any rest. Frost probably does not
actually mean sleep when he says rest, but maybe
just rest in general like giving his mind a break.

Many people have a very hard time thinking about
anything else when they are dealing with an
important issue and this is where Frost has chosen
to end his poem.

I do not agree with most people when they say that
Robert Frost was writing about suicide with this
poem. He wrote this poem to express his feelings
of the need to get away for awhile, to think. This
is exactly what I choose to do when I have issues
and problems I need to think about. Suicide is
definitely not something I have thought about when
I want to be alone for awhile. I just need to be
away from distractions. Unfortunately, living in
the dorms has taken away my privilege to do that.

At home, I have always had the advantage of having
my own room. No matter what happened, I had the
option to go to my room, shut the door, and get
away from everything. Now I am not so lucky. When
I have had a bad day, gotten in an argument or
just even want to be alone, I have to worry about
my roommate being there. This makes it really hard
for me to deal with any problems that I might
have.

Dealing with your emotions is a difficult thing.

Each of us has our own ways in which we choose to
do so. In his three poems “Mending Wall,” “The
Road Not Taken,” and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy
Evening,” Robert Frost has just started to touch
on how he might react in different situations. I
have thought about and compared what I might do
and what he might do. In many ways