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Poetry Essay

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Poetry Essay
Submitted to Professor Downie, in partial fulfillment of the
Requirements for the completion of the course.
ENGL 102
Composition and Literature
Liberty University Online
By
Melinda Cleary
July 24th, 2014
I. Introduction
Robert Frost’s “The Road not Taken” is probably the most well-known Poem in American Literature. Taught in high school English classes across the nation and studied by generations of professional scholars. Readers have the belief that “The Road not Taken” was speaking of a cross roads in Frost life. That he had to choose which path to follow and the one he took was “less traveled by”. The poem misleads you; in fact neither of the roads is less traveled by.
II. Back up my theory
a) “diverged in a yellow wood” – sets the location- yellow wood is only found in isolated locations across the south eastern U.S. -forest areas.
b) “was grassy and wanted wear”- had not been stepped on or used. He speaks as if the woods needed someone to cross.
c) “had worn them really about the same”- both roads were the same, neither was better than the other.
d) “both that morning equally lay in leaves no step had trodden black”- sets the season which could be early spring cause in the woods leaves are always on the ground. Trodden black was term used for crushed down by ones feet.
III. Analysis of the Poem
a) Literal setting – woods or forest
b) Literal situation – author was alone and leaving away from something
c) Mood of Poem- sad and melancholy
d) Author has opinion – we are free to choose but do not know what we are choosing between.
IV. My personal thought / conclusion
The attraction to this poem from generations to generation is the dilemma the Frost gives us. The path in the woods and the forks in the road, which way we choose to go. To many it symbolizes decisions we make in our lives, the crisis’s we encounter and how we choose to react, coming of age and the path’s we choose to take after leaving our parents. However Frost was not giving us advice on “take the road less traveled by” when you come to a fork in the road of life. There is no less-traveled road in the poem; it is not a clear option if you truly read between the words.

Robert Frost’s “The Road not Taken” is probably the most well-known Poem in American Literature. Taught in high school English classes across the nation and studied by generations of professional scholars. The poem misleads you in to thinking a choice had to be made when in fact neither of the roads is “less traveled by”.
Frost backs my thesis in the first line of “The Road not Taken”. Frost says “two roads diverged in a yellow wood”. The fact that he uses the word “diverged” in past tense, which speaks of a road or route separate from another route yet there are “two” and they are in “Yellow Wood” which describes trees that are only found in isolated forest areas located across the south eastern United States. Further down in the poem he states that he “than took the other, as just as fair” and that “had worn them really about the same” this tells the us that again both roads were equal, neither road was better than the other. In what I think Frost was trying to set the season for the poem in actuality he was letting us know that neither of the roads was “less traveled by” when he said “and both that morning equally lay in leaves no step had trodden black”. First leaves were on the ground, of course they were he was in a forest of some sort surrounded by trees and both roads were covered equally by the leaves. Second the fact that no steps had been taken on either road or his use of the words “trodden black” which is a term used for crushed down by ones feet. All these things lead me to believe that the roads were the same and neither one was “less traveled by”.
Frost used several literary devices in “The Road not Taken”. He gave us the setting of the woods or forest in the first line of the poem; he used New England dialect to give us clues of the location for his poem. He tells us that he is alone “be one traveler” and that he was sad and melancholy “I shall be telling this with a sigh”. The poem also leads us to the fact that he will not be coming back to this place in the woods “I doubted if I should ever come back” and he knew that life leads us away from things “Yet knowing how way leads on to way”. I feel that Frost had an opinion in “The Road not Taken” that even though we are free to choose which road to take, however we do not know what we are choosing between for in my thesis both roads were neither “less traveled by”.
In conclusion “The Road not Taken” was in a collection of poems called the Mountain Interval and it provided a clear understanding that Robert Frost poems are concerned with human tragedies and fears, our reaction to the complexities of life, and our ultimate acceptance of life’s burdens. However the attraction to this poem from generations to generation is the dilemma the Frost gives us. The path in the woods and the forks in the road, which way we choose to go. Too many people it symbolizes decisions we make in our lives, the crisis’s we encounter and how we choose to react, coming of age and the path’s we choose to take after leaving our parents. However I think Frost was not giving us advice on “take the road less traveled by” when you come to a fork in the road of life because there is no less-traveled road in the poem; it is not a clear option if you truly read between the words.

SOURCE:
Frost, Robert. Mountain Interval. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1920; Bartleby.com, 1999. www.bartleby.com/119/.

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