Symbolism of the Journey

Topics: Eudora Welty, Short story, A Worn Path Pages: 8 (3344 words) Published: May 29, 2012
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood. And sorry I could not travel both. And be one traveler, long I stood. And looked down one as far as I could. To where it bend in the undergrowth.” (Frost, 2010). An excerpt from a poem written by Robert Frost titled, “The Road Not Taken”. There are many items in this passage that contain symbolism. Symbolism of the journey is where the author uses symbols to explain a story or poem so that the reader can find the underlying meaning. In addition to Robert Frost’s poem symbolism of the journey can be found in another piece of literary work that was read throughout this course. It can also be found in a short story written by Eudora Welty titled, “A Worn Path”. I will show through analytical approaches and the various literary concepts that I have learned throughout this literature course how these authors use symbolism to show the journey that these characters take through life as well as how these pieces of literature are similar and contrasting.

“Robert Frost was considered one of the most popular and beloved American poets of the 20th Century. The careful local observations and homely details of his poems often have deep symbolic, even metaphysical, significance. His poems are concerned with human tragedies and fears, his reaction to the complexities of life, and his ultimate acceptance of burdens.” (Frost, Robert, 2008). The poem, “The Road Not Taken” is no different from what The Columbia Encyclopedia describes about his work. The first words of the poem state, “Two roads diverge in a yellow wood.” (Frost, 2010). Yellow means more than just a color in this usage. The color yellow symbolizes decay or aging according to our text (Clugston, 2010). I think this has a significance meaning to the poem, I believe he uses the word yellow wisely to show aging. Robert Frost seems to be telling this poem in first person point of view. “First person point of view is when the speaker or narrator who tells about things he or she has seen, done, heard, thought, and also learned about in other ways.” (Roberts & Jacobs, 2007). I feel like he tells the story as if he is looking back on his life, recalling the past events that led him to where he is in his current life. He uses the picture of the fork in the road to describe two different journeys that he could take, however when he states, “then took the other, as just as fair…had worn them really about the same.” (Frost, 2010) He is stating that neither path is better than the other but really that they are about the same. However, with the words of “Oh, I kept the first for another day!...I doubted if I should ever come back” (Frost, 2010) he questions himself about whether or not he is taking the right path because he does not know beforehand what he is choosing between. Another key point that I noted from this poem was “I shall be telling this with a sigh…I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference” (Frost, 2010). The sigh shows that it was a hard decision to make but that a choice was made and that he has learned from his experiences, while he may not tell others to do as he did it shows that he gained life experiences because he took “the road not taken.” I have read this poem before and I feel often that people tend to get this poem all wrong, as I did. I used to think it was about choosing the path less traveled and showing how one has overcome life’s challenges and still ended up succeeding to where the person who took the easier path is within their life, but in reality is it really isn’t about this at all as I have described.

The second piece of literature that showed symbolism of the journey that I chose to discuss is the short story “A Worn Path” written by Eudora Welty. “Eudora Welty was considered one of the finest short-story writers of any time or place, Welty usually wrote about the inhabitants of rural Mississippi. Her characters are comic, eccentric, often grotesque, but...
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