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MENDING WALL CommonLit Answers – FREE Access
Find the answer key for the topic “MENDING WALL” below:
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Discussion Questions & Answers
Following are our answers based on the questions provided:
Q.1. Do you think the speaker’s attitude toward the wall changes throughout the poem, or does he question its necessity from the beginning? Why?
Ans: The speaker’s attitude towards the wall changes throughout the poem because they initially believe that the wall is unnecessary. They mention that there is nothing to be contained except for apples and pines, suggesting that there is no real need for a barrier. However, as the speaker engages in a conversation with their neighbor, they come to realize that walls can be necessary in certain situations. They understand that on a farm, for example, walls are important to prevent animals from freely roaming around. This realization shows a shift in the speaker’s perspective on walls and their necessity.
Q.2. Why does the neighbor believe that “Good fences make good neighbors?” Do you agree with him?
Ans: The neighbor believes in ‘Good fences make good neighbors’ because that’s what his upbringing has told him. It is an old mentality that means good neighbors respect one another’s property or people will get along better if they establish boundaries. It’s what his father told him and what the neighbor believes in. However, the speaker disagrees with the neighbor saying that it’s outdated and unnecessary. The neighbor sticks to his belief and stubbornly insists on it.
Q.3. Have you ever questioned anything you were raised to believe? Why?
Ans: I have questioned things that I was raised to believe. I did this because I did not totally agree with it. Also hearing others speak differently about what I was taught made me really think about what I actually believe.
“Yes, as a person it is very common to each and every one of us that there are times in our life that we question anything that we were raised to believe because of our differences as a person regarding our beliefs, culture, or practices. Just like for example, if we did not totally agree with it because we heard others speak differently about what we were taught that made us really think of what we actually believe. So, because of that, it made us think and have some questions about what is wrong with anything that we believe, of why is it other people don’t believe it as well. That’s why, when it comes to this matter it is very important that we respect or understand other people’s ideas in order to avoid any misunderstanding and it’s okay that we need to question our beliefs from time to time to help us understand them deeply.”
Q.4. The speaker says that his neighbor “will not go behind his father’s saying” that “Good fences make good neighbors.” In the context of this poem, what are the effects of being a follower? In your opinion, is it a good thing to follow the crowd, or to stick to the status quo? Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.
Ans: In the context of the poem, the effects of being a follower are that everything will always go right and nothing will ever change. I think, in some cases, it is not a good idea to follow the crowd. In the case of creating something, following the crowd would just make the idea seem like everything else. But in the case of a large pool of people at a convention, it would be better to stick with the crowd.
Q.5. Despite the speaker’s insistence toward the end of the poem that they do not need a fence, the neighbor refuses to consider change. In the context of this poem, why do people resist change? Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.
Ans: In this poem, the speaker’s neighbor refuses to consider change despite the speaker’s insistence that they do not need a fence. The reason people resist change in this context is because they fear experiencing hardship. They adhere to the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” meaning that if something is working fine for them, there is no reason for them to make any changes. This resistance to change can be seen in various aspects of life, not just in this poem. People often prefer to stick with what they know and are comfortable with rather than taking risks or facing potential difficulties that may come with change. This mindset can be influenced by personal experiences, other literature or art that portrays the negative consequences of change, and historical events where people have faced hardships due to significant changes happening around them.
Assessment Questions & Answers
Following are our answers based on the questions provided:
Q.1. Explain how the speaker’s point of view shifts throughout the poem. Cite evidence from the poem in your response.
Ans: The speaker’s point of view shifts throughout the poem. The poem begins with an ambiguous “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” and for the first several lines the speaker is fixated on the mysterious reasons for its dismantling – “the frozen-ground-swell,” the “work of hunters,” etc. with only a brief mention of his attempts to keep the wall intact: “I have come after them and made repair” (line 6). In line 12 we learn that the speaker initiates the mending of the wall with his neighbor, suggesting that either the wall is something he values having, or that perhaps he enjoys the company of his neighbor during mending time. The actual act of mending evokes a playful tone as the speaker describes the process of resetting the stones, likening it even to “just another kind of outdoor game.” Then, quite suddenly, there is a change in point of view in the middle of the poem in line 23, at which point the speaker quite suddenly remarks that “we do not need the wall.” Perhaps he has come to an epiphany that the wall is unnecessary, or perhaps he has suspected this all along (one could argue that he may be the “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall” from the very first line). He begins by suggesting to his neighbor the rationality for why a wall is not needed, and is met with a trite platitude: “Good fences make good neighbors.” The speaker further explores this expression, which we learned the neighbor picked up from his father, and the speaker cements his opinion that a wall should have a real purpose.
Q.2. Part A: Which two of the following best identify the central theme of this poem?
Ans: “Questioning the status quo” and “Human connection”
Q.3. Part B: Which two phrases from the text best support the answers to Part 1A?
Ans: “There where it is we do not need the wall:/ He is all pine and I am apple orchard” (Lines 23-24) and “Before I built a wall I’d ask to know / What I was walling in or walling out, / And to whom I was like to give offense” (Lines 32-34)
Q.4. Part A: What does the word “spell” most closely mean as it is used in line 18?
Q.5. Part B: Which phrase from the text best supports the answer to Part A?
Ans: “Stay where you are until our backs are turned!” (Line 19)
Q.6. How does the poem’s form relate to its meaning? Cite evidence from the poem in your response.
Ans: The poet’s loose usage of iambic pentameter, which conveys a methodic yet relaxed tone, mirrors the speaker’s actions and mood. Students may also mention the shape of the poem, which, on its side, looks similar to a dilapidated rock wall. Other relevant answers could include the lack of rhyme scheme, which conveys a more conversational tone as if the speaker is speaking in stream-of-consciousness, or the repetition of certain key phrases, such as “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall” and “Good fences make good neighbors,” which emphasizes the two disparate points of view in the poem.
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In CommonLit, “MENDING WALL” is one of the students’ favorite poems authored by Robert Frost for grade 10 students.
In this poem, speaker contemplates the time each year in which he & his neighbor come together to repair the wall that divides their land.
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Hi, I’m Annie Smith, and I’ve been a teacher for over 5 years and have taught students at all levels. I love to help students get ahead of their exams and provide helpful guides on various topics.