TS Eliot: “The Hollow Men”
Date of submission
“The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost
The poem, “The Road Not Taken”, was published in 1916 by Robert Frost. The author integrates complex content amidst the poem’s simple structure. Similar to his other poems, “The Road Not Taken” portrays themes of life and death. He aims to give his readers a clear comprehension of the same. In fact, the poem symbolizes negativity hence incorporation of the word “not” in the title. The poem’s message revolves around the persona’s psychological dilemma (Crowley & Thomas 46-47). The individual contemplates between his present and speculated life. This paper examines instances of decision- making dilemmas thus psychological criticism.
The psychological aspect of the poem begins with the physical setting (Frost 10). The first line of the poem initiates the beginning of psychological criticism.
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood” (1)
Frost’s readers easily visualize and create images of the roads in their minds (Bloom 30). The poet understands the importance of understanding his readers’ minds. His approach plays a great role in the psychological analysis of the poem. The readers use their unique imaginations to create their preferred settings. There are different interpretations about the two roads and yellow wood.
In addition to literal meanings, the poem depicts metaphorical meanings of the two roads and yellow wood. The latter applies to life decisions and age, respectively. The presence of roads often acts as conventional symbols in works of literature. They represent the moments in which individuals make crucial choices and decisions affecting their lives. In this poem, the two roads describe the dilemmas that people come across in their lives (Bloom 30-34). In the poem, the individual faces regret concerning the abandoned road. The yellow wood clearly shows that as people grow, they embark on different choices and decisions for their lives (Connolly 64-65). The wood represents a time of growth; that is nonexistent after a particular time in one’s life.
“And sorry I could not travel both” (2)
“And having perhaps the better claim” (7)
“Because it was grassy and wanted wear” (8)
In the lines above, the persona settles on one decision (Crowley & Thomas 46-47). The individual chooses the path that he deems fit. Also, the poem gives predictions about the nature of the road that is abandoned by the persona. (Bloom 30-34). Clearly, the psychological aspect is evident in deciphering both literal and metaphorical meanings of the poem.
As prior mentioned, Frost’s poem incorporates complicated content. It is ironical that the person settles for the less traveled path (Frost 10). Often, it is human nature to indulge in activities that are endorsed by the majority.
“I took the one less traveled by” (19)
“And that has made all the difference” (20)
From line 19, it is evident to note the persona’s characteristics. Frost portrays the individual as wise and intelligent, and in charge of his life. The line also gives insight concerning the two roads present in the poem. Frost informs his audience that both roads are traveled; regardless of the persona’s single choice.
Through psychological criticism, it is necessary to understand the aspect of irony in the poem. Line 16 and 17 succinctly delineate the ironical instance in Frost’s poem.
“I shall be telling this with a sigh” (16)
“Somewhere ages and ages hence” (17)
Irrespective of his choice, it is ironical that the individual does not hope for a better life. He is uncertain about his future life (Crowley & Thomas 46-47). This instance may be psychologically criticized to depict irony. It is enigmatic that he speculates and predicts his future downfall. He reckons that his present decisions may negatively affect his life. As a matter of fact, the “sigh” in line 16 delineates that the individual does not have hope. It exhibits utter uncertainty regarding the individual’s future life. The lines may symbolize the person’s stunted growth and development irrespective of his decision.
The poem also ensures that the readers deeply analyze the status of the roads. Frost explores that both roads are treated as equals. None of them is rendered the right or correct path. They are not based on rightness but, on opinion and decisions. Additionally, Frost emphasizes the difficulties encountered while making the decisions (Connolly 64-65). The moments of decision making are however more tasking. They are often considered the stepping stone to one’s future life. For this reason, the decisions determine the rest of one’s lifetime.
The paper has examined psychological and psychoanalytic approaches to literary criticism. It has observed various instances of human behavior apropos of the poem. The analysis focused on the author, the text, the characters, as well as the audience. Each of the four elements significantly impacts the poem’s psychological criticism. In this poem, the persona plays the most important role. Frost uses him to achieve psychoanalysis in his audience. “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost is a poem that incorporates philosophical instances. Consequently, critical thinking is necessary to realize the meaning of the poem. The paper also explores the ironical cases in the poem. They initiate brain activity in the audience thus psychological instances. As a result, it is evident that Robert Frost’s poem is best analyzed using psychological criticism.
Bloom, Harold. Robert Frost. Broomall, PA: Chelsea House Publishers, 1999. Internet resource.
Crowley, Philip H, and Thomas R. Zentall. Comparative Decision-Making. , 2013. Print.
Connolly, Michael. Teaching Kids to Love Learning, Not Just Endure It. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2011. Print.
Frost, Robert. The Road Not Taken, Birches, and Other Poems. Claremont, Calif: Claremont Canyon Press, 2010. Print