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In Mending Wall by Robert Frost the speaker begins tone illustrates many different phases. One being the cycle of the seasons, the other being There are several phrases that refer to the seasons, for the most part in a repetitive, cyclic way, "spring mending-time," "frozen ground-swell," "once again," "spring is the mischief in me." Another theme is parallelism or the lack of it. Sometimes this parallelism takes a physical form, associated with the wall, as we may imagine the two men walking parallel paths: "We meet to walk the line." "We keep the wall between us as we go." "One on a side." It is a mental wall, though, as well as a physical one, and I read the gaps as making possible a meeting of minds and attitudes as well as of lands and bodies. Closing the gaps in the wall means closing off points where the two men might meet physically or mentally. As the poet says, "If I could put a notion in his head," but he can't. The two men, the two minds, will remain parallel, on opposite sides of a wall.
Parallelism can be found in the language as well as in the central image of the two men walking along a wall. It can be found in phrasings like "To each the boulders that have fallen to each." "And some are loaves and some so nearly balls." "Walling in or walling out." I find it most centrally in "Good fences make good neighbors," whose neat parallelism contrasts in my mind with the redundancy, the tangled, circling syntax of "Something there is that doesn't love a wall."
The parallelisms in phrasing lead me to think of speech and language themselves as themes. I find many phrases like, "'I tell him," "He only says," "I'd rather he said it," "his father's saying," "He says again." The neighbor speaks "his father's saying" twice. The poet also speaks twice, and both their repetitions represent a hardening of position, a re-building of the wall. Speech can seem almost ominous, when I hear about those yelping dogs or when the poet spells out the magic he uses to...