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Allusion in Mending Wall

Allusion Examples in Mending Wall:

Mending Wall

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"like an old-stone savage armed...."   (Mending Wall)

The narrator glimpses a vision of his neighbor as a savage. The phrase “old-stone savage” is likely a reference to the “Stone Age,” an era of early human history defined by the Danish archaeologist Christian J. Thomsen. The image places the neighbor in the context of a more primal state of existence. In this primitive context, the stone shifts from wall-building material to weapon. It is the savage side of human nature that civilization asks us to wall off within ourselves.

"But it's not elves exactly,..."   (Mending Wall)

The narrator alludes to “elves” as the possible identity of the “something” that wishes to destroy the wall. As the narrator notes, “it’s not elves,” for elves are supernatural. Yet he tempers this statement with the word “exactly” because elves bear some relevance. As mythological figures, elves represent those sides of human nature that “[don’t] love a wall”: the taste for mischief, the connection with the natural world, the desire for a primitive existence.

"Spring is the mischief in me,..."   (Mending Wall)

In this line, the narrator claims to be overtaken by the spirit of mischief, represented by the season of “Spring.” The word “spring” carries the connotation of liveliness and activity. These elements all allude to the god Hermes, who in ancient Greek cosmology heralded the arrival of spring and was known as the fleet-footed deity of mischief and trickery. Hermes was the god of boundaries and boundary-crossing, the central theme of Frost’s poem. The narrator embodies Hermes in his deep desire to dissolve the wall, the subject of his subsequent lines of dialogue.

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