January 2009 Archives
In The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost, I found the first two lines of the third stanza to be of imprtance:
"And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black,"
I believe Frost is trying to convey that although we may think we have the choice to take the road less traveled or to follow the crowds, none of this really matters. Ultimately, we create who we are by the choices we make; things only have meaning because we choose them. We must make a choice to the exclusion of all others, and no one can make our choices for us. Thus, the choices of those who came before us are irrelevant. I believe both of the roads appear equal and untrodden because we can never really know what will result because of the choices we make; furthermore, the future hardly ever entails what we project, and choices do not follow a path. Rather, choices deviate and lead you in different directions. If choices did follow a path, we would all be cookie cutter individuals with patterns of similar histories. Ultimately, taking the road less traveled by involves the series of choices that make us our unique selves, and creating who we are is what makes all the difference.
I appreciated an example that appeared on page 5 in the chapter about quests:
"...the heroine's resources, really her crutches - and they all happen to be male - are stripped away one by one, shown to be false or unreliable, until she reaches the point where she either must break down, reduced to a little fetal ball, or stand straight and rely on herself." Fortunately, the heroine does realize she can stand on her own two feet. I appreciated this quote for several reasons. For one, the heroine is a strong female character, while all too often women are depicted as weak and dependent. She may have started off as weak and dependent, but she ended up strong and self-sufficient. I also liked the example because unfortunately many women are trapped in abusive relationships, failing marriages, and the like. The reason for this state of hopelessness is usually that the woman feels as though she cannot support herself, whether financially, emotionally, or both. In other words, a woman may not feel she has the means to exist on her own, or she may not feel complete or worthy without a man. This example is so empowering because it embodies a woman who, at the end of her quest, acquires the self-sufficiency and self-worth to realize that she does not need a man, or anyone else for that matter, to support and validate her.
While reading Robert Frost's After Apple Picking, I found the 18th - 20th lines particularly interesting:
"Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear."
I looked up russet to find that it is a brownish, roughened area of a fruit from disease, insects, or spraying. While considring the entire poem, I took the bruised fruits to symbolize broken people. Frost states that one can only clearly see the bruises when the apples are magnified, suggesting that nothing is what it seems. In other words, everyone may look as if they have it together on the exterior, but only if you look closely can you see the various things threatening to unglue them. A few lines down Frost goes on to say, "I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend." The tree is struggling to support the tremendous burden of the subtle aches of the apples, as any one of us would in the attempt to bear the burdens of those aroound us.
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