Robert Frost was a renowned poet who was born in San Francisco, where he lived for the first eleven years of his life. Upon his father's death, a journalist, he moved with his mother and sister to Massachusetts near his paternal grandparents. His first poems he wrote as a student at Lawrence High School. He entered Dartmouth College in 1892 but was there hardly a term; he retuned home to work at various jobs, such as factory-hand, newspaperman and teaching. In 1894 he sold the first poem, 'My Butterfly: An Elegy', to a New York magazine, The Independent.
During his life he did spectacular works writing many books, poems and plays which were published both in England and in America. However, Frost having been a polished writer really believed in his capabilities to thrill his readers with captivating poetry works. He once told a friend, Sidney Cox, that the true poet's pleasure lay in making ‘his own words as he goes' rather than depending upon words whose meanings were fixed: 'We write of things we see and we write in accents we hear. Thus we gather both our material and our technique with the imagination from life; and our technique becomes as much material as material itself.' It was this principle that Pound saluted Frost when, in his review of North of Boston, he remarked conclusively: 'I know more of farm life than I did before I had read his poems (Terry 52).This essay is focusing on the works of Robert Frost, picking part of his work to analyze literary and their application in the real life situations which gives reader a feel of someone who committed his whole life educating people about the experiences of life and how to cope with challenges encountered in life.
One of the works of Robert Frost is his poem of 1916 known as 'The Road Not Taken'. In this particular work can be interpreted in two literary perspectives. The first perspective is on a personal interpretation of the works based on the theme of individual and society. This depicts how an individual can exercise his or her own independence and self reliance without necessarily involving other people in their decision making. He uses natural scenario to describe what happens in a real situation. Every human being is given a chance to make a personal decision which in most cases changes life. The poem does not elaborate exactly what changes are brought by personal decisions, but according to the title of the poem ‘The road not taken” the changes might not have happened. The narrator really wanted to try both roads but unfortunately he had to make a choice.
Critically speaking in this work, Robert Frost portrays and individual literary who is confronted by life situation to make a choice between two options which are life challenging. The individual is seen first taking a look at the available options and evaluating the best available choice though he does not know exactly what lies ahead in either of these options. The individual is convinced that whatever decision he will make will meet his desires and goals and therefore no need for any influence from third parties such as society and family members (Pritchard 15).
In this work Frost also depicts the individual as having taken a decision and convinced that he had made the right decision soldiered on by his convictions of never to regret about a decision once made. It turns out that he had actually made good decision in his life that would fetch him great benefits. This poem illustrates the difficulty in making decisions because any decision we make in life, directs us to a different path. The different challenges that we encounter in life can be equated to two diverging roads. It is impossible to take the two roads at the same time and so we have to decide on the right path though it may be difficult to justify why we chose a particular path, especially when they were similar. We will never know the better road without walking on it. This work centers on encouraging individuals to face life boldly and never fear any challenges in life.
An individual should assess the situation at hand and never shy away from taking decisions regardless of the outside influences. In political philosophy, individualism theory of government protects individual liberty to act as they wish, so long as they do not infringe the liberties of others. There is what is termed as collectivist political theories, where, rather than having individuals to pursue their own ends, the government ensures that the individual serves the whole society. This is a contrast to the individual liberties.
The second literary perspective is mainly an ironic interpretation of the works. The ironic interpretation is that the poem is about making choices and rationalizing the decisions we hold with high esteem or regret .In relation to this, "The Road Not Taken" "is perhaps a famous example of the author's own claims to conscious irony. In the American poetry of a wolf in sheep's clothing, Frost warned “be careful of this one; it's a tricky poem – very tricky. According to this poem he made to a gentle jab at his friend and fellow poet Edward Thomas, with whom he used to take walks through the forest. Thomas always commented at the end ‘we should have taken different paths’ and seemed amused at the interpretation of the poem as inspirational. It also gives us the vigor to continually face life with an open mind so as to take up the consequences which may arise as a result of a decision or decisions we have made in life. In this interpretation it is in order to say that that the end justifies the means (Finger 478).
In this interpretation it is seen as inspirational in life and the works take life in another level where as one grows up they should know that they will face a life full of choices that are geared towards realizing ones desires and goals. Decision taking in life cannot be over emphasized in this piece of work and every individual or the society as a whole they must face the choices available in life and take their best decision. However, if those decisions do not work in their favor they should face the repercussions with their heads high, for this is a show of taking responsibility in whatever actions one takes in life. It is also important to note that sometimes decisions we make may not be reversed. It therefore calls for a lot of concentration while making a decision because just as Frost puts it, when you take one road it leads you to another and hence may not give you a chance to return to the road you failed to follow initially. The decisions we make are sometimes ambiguous because we hardly know of their consequences beforehand.
It is the sociological element in this work which is of great interest since this may lead us to look at a political perspective in our daily lives because in the society decision making may have to be shaped by a certain political leadership or dispensation. The society will depend largely on decisions made by leaders for the achievement of the society's desires and goals. In regard to this, their political, economic, social independence are individualized decisions that are informed by personal convictions. Making decisions is not always about right and wrong. Sometimes those in leadership might be faced with two issues that require their wisdom to choose one and leave the other. In such situations leaders should be cautious not to make decisions that would lead to regrets in future.
There are also situations where the society is segmented in groups and hence the decisions taken by a particular group will be informed by common goals which govern members of that particular group. A decision made in such groups must be unanimously agreed by all the members in a group..
The two interpretations are interrelated with the decisions we make in relationships and therefore can be connected to the theme of family and life. These decisions about relationships and family will largely be informed by individual pursuit for personal satisfaction or by societal affiliations. The same can also be affected by certain political aspects of groups and regulations of government. For example there are countries which permit gay relationships and others which are very strict that relationships should be purely between two adults of opposite sex. This social and political aspect will shape the kind of decisions one will make in relation with love and family. The society groupings will also shape these decisions since culturally they are bound to a certain way of life and that informs their daily life.
Robert Frost in his poem 'Out, Out-''(1916) he is looking at death and speaks about a young man who dies as a result of injuries on his body where his arm is severed off by a buzz saw. Death is the act of life ending. Naturally death is usually sudden and has devastating effects to an individual, family and the society at large which in ancient and modern society is received with shock. In the United States of America a person is dead if a certificate is certified by a licensed medical practitioner.
In literary interpretation of this work Frost is depicting death as something which is investable and may occur at any time. It is also pointing out that death can occur to any person young and old alike. The young man dies minutes just before they could up their activities of the day. The way the death occurs is such that even the sister could not save him from being injured, and upon injuries even the presence of a professional doctor could not save the life of the young man. The doctor tries to resuscitate the young man but all in vain (Parin 64).
Death is also depicted as something which is individualistic and cannot be passed to someone else and cannot be shared to reduce its severe effects on an individual. The young man dies in the presence of his dear sister who could not help out or even share the death effects.
When death occurs different people receive the news with a lot of sorrow and tears and at times some waves of grief. The effects of death are adverse since when a family member dies who has been the bread winner of the family, what it means is that the family will experience difficulties in terms of paying their bills and also cause emotional problems due to the loss of loved ones. Death has economic and social effects in the society when it occurs to persons who are at a high productive stage of their lives. It can also lead to low production as it affects labor as a factor of production when it occurs as a pandemic. However, in his work here Frost shows that death can be stopped if a little caution is exercised, had the elder and experienced operators of the buzz saw worked closely with the young man, the death would probably not have occurred (Parin 64). Coping with death in the modern society is varied and it entails a list of therapeutic measures which must be formulated to deal with the effects. These measures includes counseling, stress management and stress therapies to the affected persons so as to tone down the effects and help the affected persons deal with the loss.
In his work, Frost shows that once death strikes the affected have to deal with the loss, and life has to go on for the people left behind. Culturally death has always been treated with an element of fear and traditional cultures treated the dead with a lot of respect. It also cites that death used to occur in the olden days and its occurrence did not mean that life will stop. In this poem it is cited that after the doctor confirmed the boy’s death, the people present were seen walking away as a clear indication that life has to continue. This poem also brings out the theme of family and love which historically has always affected the people left behind. Take a case where a man who has been the sole bread winner in a family passes on. The children and the wife might be faced with challenges of seeking alternative means to earn their living. Historically death has always been associated with curses and rarely is it seen as a source of blessing.
In conclusion, Robert Frost has used the two poems to illustrate what happens in real life situations by using them as analogies. “The road not taken” summarizes the importance of making decisions in life. At one point in life we are faced with numerous challenges that require our attention. We should never give up when faced with difficult circumstances but should always endeavor finding our way out of the difficulties. Wisdom should be used to decide the way to take, since both roads may be having different repercussions but it would be difficult to tell it in the beginning. In the poem ‘Out, Out’ Frost illustrates the how death has numerous effects in the society such as economic, social and political. Death is somehow personal as one cannot share it with friends or relatives in a bid to reduce its impact. The two poems make us connect with the real life situations that we are bound to face. One is able to understand them due to the direct relations to our daily lives.