Explanation of the poem from Snowbound
The main theme of Snowbound is that no-matter what happens, family will be there to help and comfort. This theme is demonstrated widely throughout the poem and even more so in the last stanza of this excerpt. Another, less prominent, theme of Snowbound is the meaning and involvement of God in the lives of people.
The first stanza describes the moment before the storm. “A chill no coat, however stout, Of homespun stuff could quite shut out,” This stanza begins to set up the obstacle that the family must overcome. When Emerson describes the storm as “less than treat” and then goes on about the intense cold it brings he also is describing God. God is caring and loving but he is also vengeful and just.
The second stanza is about the family preparing for the storm. “Meanwhile we did our nightly chores,” suggests that they were perfectly calm together, everyone knew what to do and they did it.
The third stanza is describing the snowstorm beginning; “Unwarmed by any sunset light The gray day darkened into night”
The forth stanza tells of how the outside looked after two straight days of snow; ” And, when the second morning shone, We looked upon a world unknown,”
The fifth stanza is about the family continuing on with there chores after the storm. Despite all that has happened the family still continues on, quite happily as a matter of fact; “Well pleased, (for when did farmer boy Count such a summons less than joy?)” This stanza also shows how God is good because even after the snowstorm the animals are all still alive.
The sixth stanza describes their solitude and isolation from the outside world.
“Beyond the circle of our hearth
No welcome sound of toil or mirth
Unbound the spell, and testified
Of human life and thought outside”
The seventh stanza is when the family makes a fire; “We watched the first red blaze appear”. Surrounded by snow in all directions, they make a fire witch symbolizes hope.
The eighth stanza is describing the bitter cold of the outside; “Most fitting that unwarming light, Which only seemed where’er it fell To make the coldness visible”
The ninth stanza is the most important of all. It is about the family resting after their day is done. The family is all together relaxing without a care;
“Shut in from all the world without,
We sat the clean-winged hearth about,
Content to let the north-wind roar
In baffled rage at pane and door,”