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Robert Frosts in The Path Not Taken, Eudora Weltys A Worn Path, focus on one particular theme that is “Journey”. Each of them have showed particular journey through which life can change. Out of many things in these two literatures there is one thing common i.e. no matter what journey person takes there is a lot of hurdles and hardship standing in his way to demotivate him/her. Each of the literatures has different characters, symbolism, and historical context although themes of both literatures are virtually same.
I am writing about “The Path not Taken” by Robert Frost and “A Worn Path” by Eudora Welty. In reading both works I learned both their paths take them on a life’s journey, by no choice and life choice. In Frost’s poem he is faced with two choices in which to make a decision, in which he choose to take the road not many people, chose to take. Whereas, “A Worn Path”, by Welty, Phoenix Jackson has no choice but to take the path that’s laid out to her, for the love of her grandson. I am writing about “The Path not Taken” by Robert Frost and “A Worn Path” by Eudora Welty, both characters in these story are in a crossroad in life where each much choose, one for love of Life and the other is for a life chose.
Some people consider journey as only distance they have travel while they forget that there can be great meaning beyond each step is taken. While focusing on destination people neglect to recognize the value of whole process that gets them there. The exhilaration and excitement of capricious voyage allow people to learn positive and negative things of different people one meet while travelling and explore different places which turns out to be useful for the rest of the life. Journey posses’ ultimate power which change people’s thinking, concepts along with ideas, which later on predictably change the whole person individually. Journey was and is very well described by different poets and authors. Through their writing they have showed people different aspect of journey. Let’s see how journey is explored by these three writers in their work.
Even though, looking at the decision that has to be made , there is no other choice for one, but the other could chose the road often taken, both story are a crossroad in life where each much chose , one for love and the other for a life choice. Where one has a choice, the other has no choice, for she must chose her path to save her grandson life, both have a decision to make, but for different reasons. In “A Worn Path” in this story Phoenix Jackson has no choice but to choose her path to get the help she much needed to heal her grandson, she had to take the journey that would get her to the doctors for her grandson. Using your imagination, “The Road Not Taken” tells of a man traveling along a country dirt road, where he comes upon a fork in the road (crossroad of life) there he have to make a choice to choose the road most taken or the road lest taken. In the lines 1-5, of Robert Frost’s poem he says: (Clugston, R.W., 2010; L. 1-5);
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 bent in the undergrowth
This is giving you the description of a man standing at the fork-in-the-road trying to decide which road he should travel by. He is puzzled many either the road many have taken but to their dismay have faced bad fates, or the road few have taken because it appeared longer and harder, but have saw the ultimate success in the end. They describe the wood as being yellow, using your imagination, you know it to be the beginning of fall, with the yellowing of the trees. After standing for a while looking at the trees and beyond trying to decide, finally he decide to take the road less traveled, maybe looking to a new beginning or a better life .Reading this gives you a bit of symbolism in this story. In this poem Frost gives you his portrayal of a journey into life, which can completely change your life for the better or for the worst, it depend on the choice you make.
These two poets used words that gave the poems the right tone in expressing the content, form, and style in the story to help the reader use their imagination and feeling as if they were on the journey themselves. (Stang, 2009, para.1), states: “A Worn Path” reflects conditions of the poor of Welty’s time and place, and from where she draws inspiration for this tale. In “A Worn Path”, it give you a description of Phoenix Jackson to give the readers an imaginary image of the elderly black woman with the different challenges and obstacles she had to face , but do not detour in her trip through the woods to town. This story helps you see the difficult path a woman like Phoenix had to travel, yet she manages to travel a path filled with obstacles with one purpose in mine, her grandson’s life.
While looking at the decision that has to be made there is no other choice for one, but the other could have chosen the road most traveled. Both stories are about crossroads in life, where each much choose which one for love and the other is for a life chose. In reading “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost and “A Worn Path” by Eudora Welty, I begin to look at how the two writers, in writing their work each have defined journey in different ways with different themes of journey in their work. Frost portrayed a man’s journey in a choice to improve and impact his life and Welty portrays a woman having to make a difficult choice for the love and health of her grandson. Both of the choices are about new beginnings, but in different ways. Leaving everyone to wonder about the path or choices they will make in life and knowing that each one may be influenced in life by many different directions and circumstances.
“A Worn Path”, portrays an elderly black woman name Phoenix, her race, her gender, her age, and her poverty all work against her in the segregated world in the deep South still manage to travel a path filled with many obstacles. In a statement from (Owen,2001,P.30-31), like the barbed wire fence, the hollow figure of the ghost who becomes a scarecrow and the insolent young hunter are sinister reminders of the cruel human world through which Phoenix must travel. Giving the readers the image that although Phoenix was old and fragile, the hill that pulls her back like a ball and chain, the stream that prompts her caution in her balance because of the life journey she had to make, thinking of the love she have for her grandson gave her the strength and ability to walk the worn path fighting all obstacle of the woods.
Each story represents a life journey, a decision, a crossroad in life and about making choices that will impact both of their lives. In a statement from (Owen,2001,P.30-31), like the barbed wire fence, the hollow figure of the ghost who becomes a scarecrow and the insolent young hunter are sinister reminders of the cruel human world through which Phoenix must travel. Giving the readers the image that although Phoenix was old and fragile, the hill that pulls her back like a ball and chain, the stream that prompts her caution in her balance because of the life journey she had to make, thinking of the love she have for her grandson gave her the strength and ability to walk the worn path fighting all obstacle of the woods.
Each author’s story represents a point of view in their literary work; a life journey, and a choice that was made. Both are considered to be an expression of feeling and imagination which is defined as a lyric poem, in reading these two poems with the content and style , you can feel, sense and feel the journey Frost and Welty is taking you on.
In connecting your imagination to the literature, you can see the literary techniques that make these two authors work effective and give you a good reading experience. After reading “The Road not Taken”, using my imagination I begin to focus my vision on what the road held and then my total focus changed from him just simply choosing a road, and him making a decision. Also, both authors work have the similarity of a life journey, Symbolizing one journey with two different meanings, the mood and attitude (tone) of them both. Welty’s work was excellent in reflecting how on how hard and difficult her journey was, whereas Frost had the choice of making his easy or hard. Also the symbolisms in both are a great deal that plays out the journey in very impactful way. “The Road Not Taken” and “A Worn Path”
From their titles, we realize these short stories will take us on a literary journey but what we do not realize are the choices and obstacles the main characters encountering that adds dimension to the story. The readers’ perceptions about the events are changed by the symbolism surrounding the characters and the conflicts that are presented.
Robert Frost, Eudora Welty and Jean Rhys displayed their point of view about journey in their work. Each one have defined journey in different prospective through different themes of journey in their work. In poem “The Path Not Taken”, Robert Frost brilliantly portrays people choice taken in their life and its impact in future. Poem displays that people choice today has a long term effects on what they become tomorrow . It also display that when people reach to a point where they have choice to make on their decisions, now it depends that person adopt regular way of solution for his problem or do what few people do to find out solution of their problems. Both things cannot be done people . They have to select one path and once the decision is taken then it’s almost difficult and impossible to retrace steps. Thus, people end becoming what they are due to their choices they have made earlier ,As a result, it is important to make right choice at the right time. Choices should be made by people on what they want rather than what majority have done on the same thing. In this poem Robert frost have shown peoples journey towards different path of life basing on their life and how this journey have long term or long lasting effect on their lives. In short story written by Eudora Welty “A Worn Path” tells a story of elderly African- American women journey through wood into town. Phoenix Jackson is the name of the old lady and she is in search of remedy for her grandson who few years accidently gulp down lye and after that his throat used to swell. On her journey through the woods she encounters many hindrances, like hunter who threads her with gun, heavy brush and dog yet facing this all she doesn’t stop her journey and reason behind this her love for her grandson . “A Worn Path” is heart touching story which reveal love and passion of close ones and one can take any sort of journey just to show their concern towards them. Jean Rhys in her story “I Used to Live Here Once” reveal journey of a woman who come back to her home. Why she has return to her the reason is not stated. While travelling to her home she witnesses a lot of changes which were not there earlier when she used to live there.
“A Worn Path” is a character story told in a third-person point of view about an elderly, colored woman and her journey along a path she has taken many times before. Throughout the story Phoenix is involved in conflict by struggling against nature, social conditions and against her own physical circumstances. From the character’s name alone we instantly envision a strong individual; the name implies a mythological creature that it said to be as large as an eagle, with brilliant scarlet and gold feathers. It was said that only one phoenix existed at any one time with a life expectancy of at least 500 years. As the phoenix approached the end of life, it would build a nest, set fire to it and would die in fire to only rise from the ashes and be stronger. Ironically, Phoenix has her hair in a red rag which correlates with the scarlet plumage of the ancient bird, and implying that she is a circumstance overcomer, rising from the ashes and becoming stronger than ever.
The symbolism of road is portrayed to show one’s life journey by Robert Frost in theme of this poem. By means of symbolism, Robert proposed that the between the two roads presented in front of the speaker, he selects the harder one from it, since the road chosen by speaker, “leaves no step had trodden black”. Usually people pick the easy path in this scenario. It depends on people that either they want the easy or a difficult, common or uncommon path because whatever they select it their rest of life will be based upon it. The poem is not only based on only one theme i. e. taking chances but it also have themes like experimenting new thing, not following crowd, and taking stand on something. Because it shows your individuality and who you are and make decisions for. But this is totally different from Eudora Welty “A Worn Path”. Eudora shows in her story that Phoenix Jackson has no choice to select her path in order to heal her grandson. No matter the path is difficult or easy, right or wrong she have taken this journey just for love of her grandson. Eudora Welty reveals a story of an old African-American woman’s ritual journey in “A Worn Path”. The symbolism of road is portrayed to show one’s life journey by Robert Frost in theme of this poem.
By means of symbolism, Robert proposed that the between the two road presented in front of speaker, he selects the harder one from it, since the road chosen by speaker, “leaves no step had trodden black”. Alternatively, Phoenix Jackson’s comparison to mythological bird, the phoenix is the most noticeable symbol in the story “A Worn Path”. Furthermore, grandson of Phoenix Jackson is portrayed by her as “wearing” a little patch quilts and peep out holding his mouth open like a little bird.
The main character is “Road Not Taken” is two fork (diverged) roads and nature which discuss that how people take their decision in life and live their whole live on it. The character tries to tell through this poem that it all on people what choice they make. So characters of the poem discuss how people chose their option. They exist but they cannot do anything if someone makes a wrong choice Phoenix has obsession with power and she is also manipulative and selfish. She faces many encounter while her journey through woods to the city. There is an event in novel when there is encounter between a hunter and Phoenix. She steals all the money of hunter which fell out from his pocket. Every time she faces a trouble she always seems to want something from it. A totally different personality of Phoenix is seen later in story when she is in hospital. There is no guilt feeling in her for all the things she has done on her path to city. So Phoenix Jackson being powerful makes her the most strong among two fork (diverged) roads and nature, and spirit of dead women as Phoenix know what she wants and how she can get it. Whatever comes in her way she bravely faces it either good or bad by being manipulative.
They also share a common moral which is the past cannot be changed, but the future has yet to be written and we should focus our attention on living life in the moment. Poet Robert Frost’s (1916) “The Road Not Taken” (Clugston, 2010) and author, Eudora Welty’s (1941) ” A Worn Path” (Clugston, 2010) and are two great examples of life’s journey that I will analyze then compare. “The Road Not Taken”, in Frost’s own words is tricky to interpret and understand. This is one of the most quoted poems of all time, especially in greeting cards because it seems to be encouraging individualism, non-conformity and self-reliance. It is also one of Frost’s most beloved poems, one of those poems every schoolchild reads, or has read to them. It is a comforting poem, because it seems so clear, and its lovely conclusion, offers a wonderful self-congratulatory kernel of wisdom for the schoolchild to take home, as much a phoneme of American corporate identity as we are likely to get (Wilcox & Barron, 2000, p. 210). While these are both great messages, it is not what the author intended. Upon closer examination we can determine that Frost’s intended message is that life choices are inevitable, a natural part of the life process, and that we cannot know whether the decision was the right one until we are in the future looking back at that particular moment in time, nor can we ever know what choosing the other path would have meant for our future.
In conclusion, Robert Frost and Eudora Welty, each one of them showed us how one simple theme can have different dimensions. both of them talks about one basic theme i. e. journey in their way, but have each of them has shown how journey of life can be different and difficult. Robert show two roads that decide which way one person want to spend his life, it can be said that Robert displayed realistic journey, Eudora showed that how person can take difficult journey for the sake love ones, they both showed that sooner or later people have to take back journeys to roots from which he/she have come from in order to fully complete oneself. By comparing these two literatures one can say that theme is same but destination is different. These literatures truly have the Symbolism of the Journey.
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