The Road Not Taken and An Unknown Girl Essay

Published: 2020-01-01 21:41:12
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Category: Poem

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The Road Not Taken and An Unknown Girl both are written by authors with a peculiar background. An Unknown Girl is by Moniza Alvi who resides in England but was born in Pakistan reflects her ethnic background in An Unknown Girl, where she goes to India to search for her identity. The Road Not Taken was written by Robert Frost who had many professions, a teacher, mill worker, newspaper reporter, farmer and then finally a poet. His life background is reflected in the poem because the poem is about making a choice between different paths.

The Road Not Taken is a conceit because the poet is telling us about how he faced two decisions in his life and a decision at this crossroad he encountered. Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, Yellow usually represents cowardice, but by saying yellow wood he tells us that it is Autumn and it could be that Autumn represents his later years in life or that he is just around the corner from death. However in An Unknown Girl right from the beginning we learn that the poet is confused about her identity when she says, an An Unknown Girl is hennaing my hand. Literally, she is saying she does not know the girl who is hennaing her hands but more closely, it relates to how the poet still has no identified herself and is also unknown. Another clue the reader sees is there are no stanzas or structure to the poem, which emphasises that she that she is bewildered and confused as to how she is feeling.

In The Road Not Taken the poet tries to delay his decision in which way he should go in life, and also literally the path he should take, when he says, Long I stood and looked down one as far as I could. The assonance of the oo sound he uses concludes that he wants to prolong his decision, and when he is looking down as far as he could, he is literally looking down the paths but also looking to his future. In An Unknown Girl, the poet experiences Many Indian images such as, henna, bazaar, rupees, kameez.

However, the mix of the Indian and Western images (balloons, perms, neon lights) reflects on her confusion of identity, this is also backed up when she says, I have new brown veins. She is literally talking about the henna she has now on her hand but also that she has found some of her roots, blood and heritage from being in India. But sooner or later this will all be scraped off, It will fade in a week, this literally refers to the henna on her hand but also in a week she will be back in England where her roots and heritage will go back to being English and her Indian culture will fade away like the henna no her hand.

A significant moment of the poets identity in The Road Not Taken is when he says, because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there had worn them really about the same. This part of the second stanza is saying the poet wants to be challenged and does not want to follow the crowd in taking the worn away path, which everyone else did, but wants to take the path that seemed fresh and untouched because it may have been more difficult to pass.

This literally refers to the choice in path, but also his choice in a life career because he doesnt want to be something regular like a teacher or doctor, but wants to have a different life than the rest of society. In An Unknown Girl the poet also experiences a moment where she wants to be that something special, or different when she says, I am clinging to these peacock lines like people who cling to the sides of a train. She is literally talking about not loosing the henna lines on her hand but actually, she is showings how she is struggling to grasp onto the new culture and she is in danger of losing touch with it. This shows that she is unsure of her Indian roots and she feels that she should be physically marked so she can identify herself with Indian culture.

On the third stanza in The Road Not Taken the poet seems to have a slight change in mind and regrets taking the path he took: Oh, I kept the first for another day, and: I shall be telling this with a sigh. The reader realizes that he regrets it because he uses negative vocabulary and phrases, for instance, sigh, doubted and if I should ever come back. These words and phrases show he is a pessimist, he uses a sarcastic tone even though he could have done something good. He is literally talking about how he regrets taking the path he chose at the crossroads but actually, he is saying that he regrets taking the path in life he chose and wants to turn back and start from the beginning where he had the choices.

There is also a large decision in An Unknown Girl where near to the end of the poem and her trip to India she feels she will now lose all her Indian identity, When Indian appears and reappears, Ill lean across a country with my hands outstretched. Literally, she is on her last day in India and is reaching out in tiredness, but she is actually attempting to join the two cultures together like a bridge from England to India with her arms. By outstretching her arms, she is longing to stay Indian but she must make a decision and her decision is to go back to England. She feels as if she will never belong in India: Longing for that An Unknown Girl in the neon bazaar, she is saying that she just wants to be both cultures but it wont happen.

At the end of The Road Not Takenthe poet has made his once in a lifetime decision and the reader has already realized that he regrets it, but now he had put the full blame on himself, Two roads diverged in a wood, and I I took the one less travelled by, and that has all the difference. The caesura after by emphasises his disbelief that he caused the problem for himself. The repetition of I, shows he regrets the choice and wants to go back, but cannot. He shows frustration and bitterness at his once in a lifetime decision that he has ruined by taking the one path he thought was a challenge, but the challenge beat him.

Both, The Road Not Taken and An Unknown Girl deal with the pressures of finding ones true identity, in The Road Not Taken the poet has to chose a path on a crossroad, which reflects how he needs to come to a decision in real life as to what he really wants to do or be. In An Unknown Girl, the poet wants to find out who she really is and is in search of her true roots in India. In both there is an ultimate ending where everything goes back to how it was or back to a normal lifestyle without the other identity or life they could have had.

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