Reading Short Stories and Poems

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Whether reading a short story or a poem, there is always a story to be found within. The authors of these stories are able to capture readers through the use of characterization, rhythm, and setting throughout their narrative. It is imagination that allows the reader of these literary forms to be able to visualize what the author would like the reader to perceive. Through the use of symbolism or descriptive wording. In the poem “The Road Not Taken” or in the short stories “A Worn Path” or “I Used To Live Here Once” – There is a prevalent theme. No matter what solitary journey we find ourselves on, ‘we’ determine how the journey ends. The solitary journey that each of these literary pieces share is presented differently in each ending. Robert Frost designed “The Road Not Taken” with specific designs in the narrative that revealed for me as the reader that there was a forthcoming journey. Frost also utilized the word “I” many times, which made me imagine him alone. Comparative to this example let us compare “A Worn Path” where Welty utilized the word “she” throughout the writing piece. The linguistic choice inspired my imagination to visualize a woman walking alone. This visualization was reinforced in other places of the writing when the character spoke to animals to get out of her way: “Out of my way, all you foxes, owls, and beetles”. When Welty posed this conversation in the story, it gave me a sense of solitude. The submission that the woman also was walking a uphill path provided the symbolic comparison to a ‘hard life’. Walking uphill for any length of time is exhausting for anyone and when you add the notion of being elderly, it brings pity to this woman walking uphill. Rhys also utilizes the word “she” many times in ‘Used To Live Here Once’. Once again, this presents to a reader that the character is in solitude, be example: “She came to the worn steps” and “She was standing by the river”. In each piece of literature reviewed in this paper, the solitude of each journey varies by the choices that the characters make. Symbolism examples are abundant in the same poem. The word “Yellow” was used to describe the two roads as aging or in decay; or maybe it was a reader reference for Dorothy in the play ‘Wizard of Oz’ when she was at the beginning of the Yellow Brick Road and did not know what to do. In another symbolic example, “Two Roads” could be interpreted as two ideas, two dilemmas, two opportunities, two of just about anything that a person might have to choose between. The person Frost is writing about seems could be going through a difficult time for forced decision or new opportunity. Frost referred to both paths as “in leaves no step had trodden black”, which is another example of a color being applied for symbolism. ‘Black’ shows symbolism of death. The narrative as crafted reveals him on a current path that observes a new choice as “grassy and seemingly vibrant”, and like the one currently on, holds a future that is unknown. The analysis of the predicament seems as if an alternative pathway appears as enticing, yet also mysterious since he wondered why no one else had come back if they adventured down the path. Eventually the poem takes the read to a point where a decision is made and instead of being in front of two choices he was in “a wood” in which he had decided to stay “on the first for another day”. I interpreted the understanding of frost to conclude that the unknown was more exciting than the knowing. The lack of distinction between his two paths could also arguably indicate the resistance to make a decision at all as well. The setting that a short story or poem creates makes a major difference for the engagement of the reader for the overall reading experience. Consider the title of “The Road Not Taken” by itself. Just the title exudes a conflict of where the writing piece may, or may not lead. The first entry is “Two roads diverged in yellow wood” and as a reader I was left...
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