Symbolism of the Journey in "The Road Not Taken" and "A Worn Path" ENG125: Introduction to Literature
11/ 05/ 2012
Symbolism of the Journey in "The Road Not Taken" and "A Worn Path" When reading a short story or a poem it is not possible to comprehend the author’s true meaning of his or her written word without implementing symbolism to bring the literary work to life. Sometimes the symbolism can be interpreted differently by each person. However, we do know that the symbolism of the literary work is created in the imagination of the writer to depict certain events or interrelated facets of the literary work. Moreover, the joy of reading is so that the reader can interpret what these symbols mean to them and begin the wonderful journey into the world of literature. As we read, we begin to unravel and decode the symbolic nature of the characters journey throughout the written word. Also; the journey is not only in the reading of the literary work but, in deciphering the symbolism to find its true meaning as it relates to you, the reader of the short story or poem. Therefore, we can see from Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken,” and Eudora Welty’s short story, “A Worn Path” that the symbolism a writer uses is the journey to discovering the path of the literary work itself. The best example of this symbolic journey is Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken.”. In this poem we read about a man who is walking along a path and then it forks off. He must make a choice and decide which path he will continue his journey upon. The decision seems simple enough. Should he take the path that everyone else seems to have chosen? Or does he take the path that is less chosen and more mysterious? This is a tough decision for him because the symbolism dictates that once he chooses a path there is no going back. In the end he chooses the path not often taken and winds up making the right decision. However, as we read Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken.” We are given many symbols to analyze this journey. As a reader, we could analyze this poem in many ways. One could say that the symbolism indicates that it is about suicide, or life’s many choices. But, I believe that each individual that reads this poem comes away with a meaning that makes sense to him or her. The author, Robert Frost, knew the symbolic meaning that he was creating for his readers and sought to merge that interpretation with his reader by using symbolism to depict his poems journey. Thus, we must start from the beginning in order to be able to further analyze his poems symbolic journey. Therefore, in the first two lines of Robert Frost’s poem he says: “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both” (Clugston, R.W., 2010; section 2.2). The symbolism for the yellow wood would indicate that it is the beginning of fall. This could also be interrupted that the character is middle aged. The second line would indicate his desire to be able to choose both paths. However, he knows from the beginning that he may choose only one path. The following line says: “And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth” (Clugston, R.W., 2010; sec 2.2). In line three we see the man is alone and taking his time choosing a path. This could symbolize his desire to make the right decision and he does not want to be hasty and choose the wrong path. In line four we see him trying to get a glance at the paths. It would appear as though he is weighing his options trying to decide which path is best. In lines six though ten, he has chosen the path that most do not take. In lines eleven through fifteen we see that the man came to the realization that he would never been back at this fork in the road again. He knows that once he goes down the one path that he...
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