Compare and Contrast Two Literary Works Essay

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The two literary works that I chose to compare and contrast for this paper are I Used to Live Here by Jean Rhys and The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. Symbolism of the journey is in both of these written works and I feel that it makes them both stronger and more appealing to the reader. When pieces of literature are able to touch a reader and make them feel alive I think that the author is doing a fantastic job getting his message across. In The Road Not Taken, I feel like Robert Frost is trying to play with each individual reader a little.

By naming this poem The Road Not Taken I think it is a metaphor for our everyday lives, the choices we decide to make and not make every day. (Clugston, 2010) “Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same,” In this poem Frost describes two roads and they both describe change and transformation. Both roads are appealing to him in different ways, which makes the decision a hard one to make.

This poem caught my attention immediately because it can be a universal poem, and no matter who reads it, anyone can relate to it. This is the reason why he cannot just walk down any road without thinking about this life changing decision. He is not by any means unsatisfied with how his life turned out he just often wonders “what if? ”, as in the other road could have meant more possibilities, a better choice and even more rewarding for him in the end. A few themes that I noticed in this poem are regret, sorrow and remorse.

The word ‘sorry’ and ‘sigh’ are mentioned throughout this poem and these words give it a somewhat gloomy feeling. After I had finished reading this poem I was actually dwelling on the road he did take, but then I came to realize that this is more about the road he did not take. Even though he is not content with his choice he must learn to be, like all of us must do in our own lives. I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. I know that I can relate to this poem on a day to day basis, either in a good way or in a bad way.

A sigh for me can be good or bad, either I did or did not do my homework or assignment that is due. That sigh can represent guilt or relief, depending on whether I turned in my work or not. I Used to Live Here by Jean Rhys is about a young girl who is standing on the bank of the river and remembering her life. In this short story she is describing her journey back to her house and remembering everything in the exact detail that it happened, especially the stepping stone that caused her death. She refers to the last stepping stone as ‘unsafe’.

After reading this I came to the conclusion that she has been dead for quite some time now. Her spirit had finally just risen and decided it was time to go back home. When she was taking her usual route back home she was saying the scenery was different to her, everything was wider and glassier. Over time a town can change due to improvements needed, and at some point everything is bound to change. As she arrives to her home she notices children, she tries calling out to them but they cannot hear her. As she gets closer, one of the kids mention that suddenly it is cold and they go into their home.

That is the exact moment she finally notices that she is dead. This short story is a great example of realizing what is there, even though it isn’t clear to her that she is dead her journey to finally get there helps her figure it out. This short story caught my attention because with like most situations in life everything isn’t crystal clear and we do not always see things as they are. Sometimes it takes us all time to finally realize we need to do change something because if we keep doing the same thing we won’t get any results. The outcome will always be the same, just like the young girl in this short story.

Now that she finally knows that she is dead she can finally rest and not have to wonder why the people will no longer talk to her when she tries to reach out to them. A short story is usually fiction and has a plot, theme and has a few characters involved. Short stories are always shorter than a novel and do not have chapters in them. The word poem is a Greek word, which means to create. A poem is composed of many lines, stanzas. When a poet is choosing these words they have to be chosen carefully. The words that are used for poems are used for sound, emotion, effect and to bring a few lines to life. Poems always have a condensed meaning.

The two pieces of work are two separate genres, poetry and the short story; they both make use of a natural setting, which draws the reader into the scene in a comfortable manner. The comfort is added by the use of tone by both of these authors. Both of these pieces of literature are about a single individual trying to find answers to their lives. Robert Frost wrote this poem in first person. I am not exactly sure if this poem is necessarily about him. There are clues that are thrown into the poem that make it seem that way but then again it just seems like another poem written to make everyone wonder about their everyday lives.

I Used to Live Here Once is written in third person, limited omniscient view. The readers know what is going on in this before the character does. When she finally does understand it, it is like an epiphany to her and it is clear to her that she is dead and the symbols and signs along the way home came to her. Everything has finally fallen into place to help her come to the realization of her own death. I guess a major similarity in these two pieces of work would be the understanding both characters get at the end. Both characters find out what they didn’t know earlier in the story.

These two pieces of literature seem totally different because one is a short story and the other is a poem but the way these two actually go hand in hand is incredible to me. They are both about self-discovery in one form or another. In both pieces of literature both characters findexactly what they need to to become at peace with their lives and touches me because isn’t that what everyone wants in their life peace? I think so, and that is exactly why I chose these two pieces because they actually mean something to me and help me understand difficult life situations.

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