He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. (Stanza 3, Lines 1,2) It is noteworthy that the poet has chosen the pronouns "He" and "His" for the horse indicating the role that rider considers for it apart from being only a vehicle. Upon consideration, the horse becomes a means to an end for the speaker. The horse is essentially the rider’s means for attaining his promises which he has miles and miles to get to them. With this in mind, the horse becomes an extension of the speaker’s own thoughts in the anticipation of moving forward.
The horse never really asks or wonders about any of the things mentioned; it is only the speaker’s own thoughts projected onto the horse. This personification and projection of thought magnify the separation between the speaker and his surrounding natural environment. He, with his horse, or rather vehicle of progress, appears to be the only living things around. It seems throughout the poem his horse is the only thing, which tries to keep him attached to the environment and his surroundings. The horse like any practical being, wants to get on down the road to food and shelter.
The narrator himself, however, continues to get fascinated by the mysteries of the forest, the otherness, sleep and death. At some point, it seems like he has given up the rationality and responsibility of his actions to the horse as he talks with some kind of neighborly attitude towards the matter by the use of words "Stopping by" and the line where he says: Whose woods these are I think I know. (1) But when he says " My little horse must think it queer" he admits that the thinking and rationalizing process has been given to the horse while his mind is occupied with matters such as death and the promises he has to keep.
The most significant auditory imagery used in the poem is of the horse's bells " He gives his harness bells a shake (11) . Other than that there is only what other sound mentioned in the poem: The only other sound's the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake. (Stanza 3) All this creates an odd, somehow scary atmosphere mirroring the inner conflicts of the rider and his only companion through this battle is a horse on which he relies in several occasions. Works Cited: http://studentacademichelp. blogspot. com Steve Pedersen: “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening': A Burkean/Ecocritical Reading”