Compare/Contrast: “the Road Less Traveled” & “Anyone Lived in a Pretty How Town”

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Although E. E. Cummings’ poem “anyone lived in a pretty how town” emphasizes themes of independence, defiance, and love; and Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” emphasizes themes of making choices and feeling regret; it is apparent that by analyzing the poems side by side that they both highlight the concept of being forced to choose one side or the other and the difference between the right choice and the common choice. No two poems can be exactly similar to another; so despite having many similarities, the two poems are vastly different.

The protagonist in “anyone lived in a pretty how town” is in many ways a loner. He chose to be different… to completely distinguish himself from common society, and this choice followed him for the rest of his life. He asserted his personal independence, and continued to live his life the way he wanted to, despite becoming alienated from his small community. In doing that, he not only shows individuality but also courage and resoluteness not found in the traveler of Robert Frost’s poem. Unlike Anyone, the traveler chooses the easier path; the grassy smooth one, instead of the overgrown one. He says: “Then took the other, as just as fair,/And having perhaps the better claim/ Because it was grassy and wanted wear”(Frost). Instead of taking a risk and using the more uninviting path, he decided to make the more obvious choice.

Another difference is that E. E. Cummings’ poem is far broader and deep than Frosts. It symbolizes the entire passage of time and the cycle of life - from childhood to work to love to marriage to death. Meanwhile, “The Road Not Taken” has a narrower outlook and focuses on the decisions we make during life instead of life itself.

However, the similarities in the two poems are obvious and plentiful. Frost’s poem: The Road Less Travelled has one basic theme: that individuality comes down to being able to choose between the popular choice and a choice less explored. In other...
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