Juxtaposing “The Road Not Taken” and “New Directions”
In “New Directions” by Maya Angelou, Annie Johnson is a Negro woman in the early 1900s that is faced with two toddling sons, very little money, and a slight ability to read and add simple numbers. After she and her husband part amicably, Annie decides she does not want to work as a domestic and leave her kids to anyone else’s care. Because she knows that there is no possibility the town’s cotton gin or lumber mill will hire her, she decides to cut herself a “new path”. In her words she said, “I looked up the road I was going and back the way I come, and since I wasn’t satisfied, I decided to step off the road and cut me a new path.” By cutting herself a new path, she ultimately made the best choice she could.
In the poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost, the main character comes across a diverging road and can’t seem to decide which path to take. In the first stanza he says: “And sorry I could not travel both, And be one traveler, long I stood.” This shows his uncertainty about which path to choose. He finally chooses the one that seems less traveled by, but mentions that both paths were equally worn.
The biggest similarity between “The Road Not Taken” and “New Directions” is that both stories talk about paths or roads that in ways represent life decisions. The narrator in “The Road Not Taken” was confronted by the selection of which path to take. The poem has an overall tone of regret, despite the misleading last two lines of the poem which read, “I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference,” which is often mistaken as an inspirational line. It suggests the path he chose was a satisfying and happy one, when ironically he is regretful of the path he took and perhaps wishes he had take the other one. Similarly, Annie Johnson was confronted by the path which seemed to be chosen for her and the path from which she came from. She was not satisfied with either one and...
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