Walls Have Two
In Robert Frost’s ‘Mending Wall,’; he shows a man views about a wall. The man names both pros and cons of having the wall. He also hints at how a wall might affect a particular society. The poem is a conversation between two neighbors on either side of a wall. The main speaker’s conversation shows his views about the purpose of the wall, and it’s effectiveness to either bring people together, or it’s tendency to separate them.
The main speaker’s conversation shows his feelings about the purpose of the wall. His monotonous feeling toward mending the wall shows his reluctance to having the wall. In his conversation he explains that there is no need for a wall because, ‘My apple trees will never get across and eat the cones under his pines’; (25). Since the speaker can find no reason for the wall he questions his neighbor on it’s purpose. And the other speaker can only answer with, ‘Good fences make good neighbors’; (27). With this answer the main speaker considers the fact that the wall must have no real purpose. Since the wall is not ‘walling’; anything in or ‘walling’; anything out (33).
Though the speaker sees the wall as having no purpose, he does name at least one good thing about it. The thing that he views as being good about the wall is it’s
effectiveness to bring people together. Perhaps if it were not for the wall the two neighbors would not have a reason to be together. But since the wall needs repairing every spring the two neighbors have reason to be together. Though the two don’t speak much about
meaningful things they are still together. And maybe this is why the second speaker thinks that ‘Good fences make good neighbors’; (27).
The speaker contradicts his early view of the wall’s ability to bring people together when he shows how the wall separates people. He demonstrates this when he says, ‘And set the wall between us once again we keep the wall between us as we go’; (14). Even at the time when the two are mending the wall there is no conversation about each of their personal lives. Instead all that they talk about is the object that separates them, the wall. The wall seems to take away from them becoming more knowledgeable about each other’s lives, which often hinders a friendship. The speaker also refers to a wall as giving separation through offense when he says, ‘And to whom I was like to give offense’; (34).
This poem offers a holistic view of a wall and it’s affect on neighbors. This aspect of the poem allows the reader to decide on the need for a wall. Walls serve many purposes in society like boundaries, defense, and offense. But should society as a whole let wall separate itself from one another. So the question still stands do walls or fences really make ‘good neighbors’; (30)?