Wordplay in Mending Wall

Wordplay Examples in Mending Wall:

Mending Wall 1

"offence...."   (Mending Wall)

The word “offence” operates on three levels here. Socially, “to give offence” is to behave in an emotionally insensitive or law-breaking manner. This meaning applies to the poem in that the wall exists in a social context. The word offence comes from the Latin “offendo,” which means “to strike against.” This definition evokes the materiality of the wall, as well as the image of its destruction. Finally, “offence” is a pun, as it contains the word “fence.” Taking into account the Latin prefix “ob,” “offence” then means “against fence,” which sums up the narrator’s intellectual position.