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Compare Two Robert Frost Poems, The Road Not Taken & Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening

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Compare Two Robert Frost Poems, Focusing On The Ideas That He Presents And How He Presents Them 'The Road Not Taken' and 'Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening' are two poems by the American poet Robert Frost. The poems were both written in the early 20th century and as a result contain many features, typical of a poem at that time. The poems concern an encounter with nature and similarly are both set in woods although one is an autumnal wood and the other, as the title of 'Stopping...On A Snowy Evening' suggests, is set in deepest winter. It is also known that one of these woods is set in England whereas the other is in America. Furthermore, the poems concern a journey or a travel of some sort. However the journey in 'The Road Not Taken' is undertaken on foot whilst the other is on horseback. Both poems are a first person narrative which suggests that it might be a personal experience of the writer, especially as they feature decisions that the narrator has to take. The ideas explored by Frost in the two poems contain many similarities and differences. As previously mentioned, both poems concern a journey. In 'The Road Not Taken' the narrator, possibly the poet himself, is faced with a fork in the path of a 'yellow' wood. ...read more.


While it is possible that this Robert Frost's personal experience, it seems unlikely, as whilst 'The Road Not Taken' is about making an important decision early in life; "Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening' suggests that it is an extended metaphor about old age and death. The traveller could in fact be an old person and the 'frozen lake' could be referring to death. The traveller longs to stay in the woods that are 'lovely, dark and deep' and the only sound apart from the 'easy wind and downy flake' are tempting to him. But his little horse is his connection to life, and by giving his harness bells a shake he reminds the traveller that stopping here is a mistake. In the end the traveller accepts that staying in the woods is not the answer, because he says he has "Promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep", which can be translated as he has lots of things left to do in his life yet. The form and structure of both poems are crafted to suit each need. Both poems have a very disciplined and regular rhyme scheme. In 'The Road Not Taken' there are eight rhyming sounds but in 'Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening' there are just four; queer, though, shake and keep. ...read more.


He later decides in the fourth stanza though that he took 'the one less travelled by' thus capturing the undecided nature of the traveller. He seems regretful about choosing that path as he says, "I shall be telling this with a sigh', although he contradicts himself again by saying that it has made all the difference after all. After just one read of each poem 'Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening' is, in my opinion, a lot easier to understand. The language is easier, it includes lots of descriptive words to help you piece together a mental image and the overlying story of a person pausing his journey to look at the woods is simpler. Perhaps that is why 'Stopping...' is more common in children's anthologies. 'The Road Not Taken' is more commonly misinterpreted because many people believe that it's title is 'The Road Less Travelled By'. But I found that once the extended metaphors had been unearthed it was 'Stopping...' that was far more thought provoking as many people do not realise that it is about old age and death. It is quite a sad poem as the person is talking about how welcoming the peacefulness of death is. Was the person in 'The Road Not Taken' really walking through woods and was the traveller in 'Stopping...' really on a long journey. Robert Frost's ambiguous endings have completely changed how we think about these poems, and that has made all the difference. Charlie Dowden 05/11/09 Charlie Dowden 05/11/09 ...read more.

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There are some good points in this essay, particularly when looking at the structure of the poems. When comparing two texts it is important to identify key differences and similarities and to fully consider the intended effects of these comparisons. This essay considers the meanings of the titles which is important when looking at poetry; it also helps to always look at the beginnings and endings of poem as analysis of these points can help understanding of a poem.

Marked by teacher Laura Gater 15/04/2013

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