The Formalist Approach

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The Formalist Approach

By | November 2012
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The above poem by Robert Frost is very interesting to me. This poem captured my attention immediately, and held it to the end. The images created were easy to become engulfed in. The descriptions created the feeling of literally being at the beginning of the path deciding which way to go. I will be using the Formalist approach to analyze this poem. “This approach is most widely used in literary criticism; it focuses on the form and development of the literary work itself. Every writer chooses particular literary tools to create a representation of something that exists in his or her imagination.”(Clungston, R. (2010) Ch.16.para.3.) This method uses a series of questions to evaluate the literary work. This approach appealed to me because it helps reveal what the poem means in a way that the reader can understand. This poem by Robert Frost tells a very unique story that I will attempt to unravel using the Formalist Approach. The setting of this poem is one of a man standing in the wilderness alone. Not surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the world. The author creates an allusion of being alone by describing the path as being overgrown with brush. The author also creates the illusion of being alone in line twelve “no step had trodden black” meaning that there were no visible footprints of recent travelers. This creates a mental image of a man walking alone in the wood down a very overgrown bushy path. The plot of the story is memorable because after reading the poem, the statement it is making gives the reader something to ponder. What path would you choose, or have you choosen in the past that brought you to where you stand today. The character in the poem was not physically described. It dose not say what he was wearing, how tall, alone or happy. It simply stated that that he was “one traveler”. This creates an image of being alone. This also creates a mood of solace. Solace is enforced in line eight, “it was grassy and wanting wear” meaning that no one...
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