Poetry V Short Stories

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Contemporary poetry and traditional poetry are analogous and diverse in multiple ways. The poems “Vacation” by Rita Dove, and “Introduction to Poetry” by Billy Collins, are both modern poems that can be comparable to the traditional poem, “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. Many people also criticize traditional poetry, and write how they feel about it and what they think the meaning is. When explicating these poems, you start to learn the real meaning of each one. Contemporary poets appear to be more direct in their language, using fewer poetic devices than the traditional poets. Universal themes span across different time periods, however, the language used to convey these themes varies greatly. For example, in the traditional poems there is metaphor, structure, rhyme scheme, symbolism, personification, and imagery, whereas in the contemporary poems there are similes, and imagery. “The Road Not Taken” has the theme of making decisions that are right for you individually not everybody else, because that will determine your future. While first reading the title of the poem, one cannot understand whether the road not taken refers to the road the narrator did not take, or the road other people have not taken. Once the poem is read, one can comprehend the actual meaning of the title and the poem itself. When Frost says “…and having perhaps the better claim, because it was grassy and wanted wear…” he is saying that not as many people have taken this pathway and that more people ought to use it. Later on he emphasizes that the roads worn about the same (Parini). In choosing the other path, he believes that the second one is less worn (Faggen). A very important line in the poem is “…Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference.” This line is significant because it is the ending of the poem and it explains that since the speaker took this path, it has changed his or her life. The selections that we make during our lives can have both positive and negative consequences that we have to face. These actions become decisions, once we understand the meaning of these decisions (Richardson). Despite the outcome of these choices, people should not be followers; they should be individuals who do what is best for them, not the rest of the world. Making our own decisions should be fairly simple, but this poem suggests that most human choices are irrational. Many Americans believe that nature provides the path to your future, whereas some people believe that God is the way (Faggen). This writing is also very personal to Frost, and can relate to his own life. The poem may be in reference to his friend Edward Thomas because when they went for walks, Frost believed that Edward would always choose the wrong path (Montiero). Frost uses many poetic devices in order to help explicate his poem. This poem is an example of an extended metaphor. It is comparing the situation this person is in, with the real life choice of what one would like to do in his or her future. Unlike the contemporary poems chosen, this poem has both structure and rhyme scheme to help create it. There are nine syllables in each line of the poem and it also uses iambic tetrameter. Iambic tetrameter is a line of the poem consisting of four metrical feet. The rhyme scheme that Frost uses is abaab format. In addition symbolism is a significant part of this poem. He is talking about a road that people are and are not taking, and that road symbolizes the way to their future. The road is also personified in the poem when he says “…because it was grassy and wanted wear…” The road cannot want wear, but by saying this he is inferring that the road had not been walked upon that often. As a traditional poet Frost uses many literary techniques in his poetry. When explicating the poem and using these poetic devices, one is able to find the true meaning of the poem. “Vacation” by Rita Dove is a...
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