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The Road Not Taken Poetry Essay

In: English and Literature

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Poetry Essay

COURSE # and TITLE ENGL 102: Literature and Composition

SEMESTER OF ENROLLMENT Spring B 2011

WRITING STYLE USED Turabian

Thesis
“The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost is a lyrical poem in which the emotion, symbolism, and certain rhythmic patterns are used to emphasize the thematics of the poem and the message the speaker is trying to deliver by writing it.

Outline
I. Introduction
a. “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost
II. Theme
a. Literal: i.e. “fork in the road” as an actual path
b. Symbolic: i.e. “fork in the road” as a contemplated decision
III. Mood of the speaker
a. Uncertain at the opening
b. Satisfied with the conclusion in the statement, “and that has made all the difference”
IV. Symbolism
a. Christian perspective
b. Choice between good and evil
V. Rhythmic patterns
a. Assonance
b. Alliteration
c. Consonance
VI. Conclusion

Poetry Essay

In order to acceptably examine a poem, the reader must be able to interpret the representation and significances in what the poet has written it. Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” is a lyrical poem in which the emotion, symbolism, and certain rhythmic patterns are used to accentuate the thematic of the poem. It also helps to interpret the message the author or presenter is trying to send by writing it.
Poems often times will have an actual, literal meaning as well as an unseen, symbolic, fundamental meaning that the speaker is trying to express to the reader. For example, in this poem the poet begins by standing at a fork in the road. He takes some time to consider which path he will take. Finally, he chooses his way and then comes to understand that he had made the best decision. This is the platform used as the literal translation of the poem. It could also be literal in the theme and situation of the poem. Another view would consider the fork in the road as symbolic. The “fork” could actually be a decision or choice contemplated. The author may be considering an option that will direct his life in ways other than the popular route of the world. Even as this portion of the poem could very well be symbolic, it also represents a realistic issue for most people on a daily basis. In this sense, it would be accurate to say that the translation could be literal and symbolic as well. Most would tend to agree that this is spoken from a symbolic perspective.
Another important part of a lyrical poem is the mood of the author. This is another “stage” used to assist the reader with comprehending the meaning. It helps to set the emotion within the poem and allows the reader to understand the meaning. At first, it appeared that the author was not certain of what road to travel. As stated above, this is often an issue for people in their everyday lives. Therefore, it will not be difficult for to understand the poet’s dilemma. This is common in everyday situations in life and is easily understood by the reader. Secondly, clearly the author is satisfied with his decision. The words, “and that made all the difference,” at the end suggests that he was pleased with the choice made.
Frost chose to use symbolism in his poem also. As mentioned previously, the fork in the road could symbolize an important undetermined choice. Some may even see the relation of Frost’s choice of words to represent a spiritual decision. His words, “one less traveled” appear much like the narrow road to heaven in the Bible. Both roads have few that travel them.
Rhythmic patterns were used also. Alliteration is seen, or heard, in the first line and fourteenth lines. “Yellow wood” as well as “knowing how” are examples of alliteration in the repeated “w” sound. This is seen again with the words “looked down;” repeating the “d” sound. Assonance can be seen in the fourth line with “looked” and “could.” The same vowel sounds used in these words denotes an assonance rhythm pattern. Lastly, consonance is also used to generate rhythm. Line four and the words “looked” and “could” also form a consonance rhythm. Line eleven, with the words “equally” and “lay” are also examples of consonance.
“The Road Not Taken” is among some of the easier poems to understand. It is intense and written with obvious emotional direction. Symbolism and imagery both paint a picture that also depicts real issues that we contend with. The uses of varied rhythmic patterns allow the smooth flow of words that create for the reader an even greater sense of enjoyment.

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