Road Blocks

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Jessica Garcia
Dr. Kaye Rappaport
English 1302
19 September 2012

Road Blocks
Every person, in whatever stage of life can relate to going through a journey. Though we might not all have walked the exact same path, each person experiences an internal and physical journey. An internal journey is a reflective journey of the mind and spirit filled with uncertainty, challenges and conflicts. The growth we derive from such journeys can present us with an avenue for self-discovery and self-evaluation, leading us to challenge. Furthermore, a physical journey accompanies and ignites the inner journey and is often the catalyst for change in the individual. Robert Frost’s poems “The Road Not Taken,” “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” and “Acquainted with the Night” all portray these journeys, but each with differing means of struggles toward that journey. Frost uses the concurring theme of the connection of man and the natural world in all three poems to emphasize such struggles. Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” both portray weighing of choices in life. The former is about youth and experiencing life and the latter is about old age, or more probably, an old spirit wearied by life. In both poems the speaker is in a critical situation where he has to choose between two paths in life. In “The Road Not taken” the speaker chooses the unconventional approach to the decision making process, thus showing his uniqueness and challenging mentality while in “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” the speaker seeks a life without any pain and struggle but at the end, he has to comply with social obligation, which reflects his responsibility towards the society. On the other hand, in the poem "Acquainted with the Night" Frost focuses on the speaker’s depression and loneliness through a depiction of a late night journey. Instead of struggling with choices, the speaker is idle in being dissatisfied. He has walked beyond the city limits and along every city lane, but has never found anything to comfort him. He is sad, lonely, and distant, but at the same time, nothing seems wrong either. Stuck in a limbo between wrong and right, the speaker seems empty. Yet, he has walked at night so much that he cannot have hated it; there's something about the beauty of the moon and the night that attracts him, though he is left unfulfilled somehow. Brought to a standstill at the presence of a crossroad, the speaker of “The Road Not Taken” is left to contemplate which path to travel. The very first line of the poem begins with “two roads diverged in a yellow wood” (1), the reader sees he is confronted by a choice in nature. The speaker then “looked down as far as [he] could to where it bent in the undergrowth” (4-5), even though he is in a peaceful forest making his choice, it is a little intimidating that the bushes and plants of the forest are keeping him from seeing where the path he takes is leading him. Looks like he is stuck; in the natural world and in civilization realizing one cannot always see where his life is going. After careful inspection of both routes, the speaker comes to the conclusion that neither path presents a more appealing endeavor ahead but as the speaker ponders his choices, he feels strongly that whatever “road” he takes will be for good. So he must weigh his decision well in order to come up with the best choice and not end up regretting it. Of the two means of travel, the speaker asserts that "the passing there/Had worn them really about the same" (lines 9-10) and "both that morning equally lay/ In leaves no step had trodden black" (lines11-12). Lacking an explicit solution to the dilemma, the speaker is left to contemplate any future consequences based on an impending decision of taking one road over the other. Infused with the anticipation of remorse, Frost's work portrays the universal query supposing a different possible outcome if another route was taken of equal uncertainty....
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