What does the wall represent in the poem, Mending Wall?
The wall in the poem ‘Mending Wall’ represents two viewpoints of two different persons, one by the speaker and the other by his neighbor. Not only does the wall act as a divider in separating the properties, but it also acts as a barrier to friendship, communication. From the narrator’s view, barriers lead to alienation and emotional isolation, and loneliness. The narrator cannot help but notice that the natural world seems to dislike the existence of a wall as much as he does, and therefore, mysterious gaps appear from nowhere, and boulders fall for no reason. The poem portrays the lack of friendship between two neighbors; they know each other, but they are not friends. There exists a communication gap between them; they meet each other only on appointed days to fix the wall separating their properties.
Thus, the poem is a sad reflection on today’s society, where man-made barriers exist between men, groups, nations based on discrimination of race, caste, creed, gender, and religion.
On the other hand, the neighbor has different opinions. He believes that ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’ He considers walls as necessary to create physical barriers and for mending relations. According to the poet’s neighbor, physical barriers set limits and affirm the rights of every individual. Walls also stand for building goodwill and trust.
The ‘wall’ is also an example of a metaphor in the poem, Mending Wall.
The ‘wall’ in the poem is a metaphor for two kinds of barriers- physical and mental.
*Something there is that doesn’t love a wall
*And set the wall between us once again
*We keep the wall between as we go.
The fence symbolizes national, racial, religious, political, and economic conflicts and discrimination that separate man from man and hinder understanding and cultivating relationships.
The dispute between the two neighbors symbolizes the clash between tradition and modernity. The young generation wants to demolish the old tradition and replace it with modernity, while the old wants to cling to the existing tradition and beliefs.
In “Mending Wall,” Frost has taken an ordinary incident of constructing or mending a wall between his and his neighbor’s garden and has turned it into a meditation on the division between human beings. Find Mending Wall: Line by Line Summary here.