A summary of a much-misunderstood classic poem
‘The Road Not Taken’ is one of Robert Frost’s most famous poems. It appeared in his first collection, Mountain Interval, in 1916; indeed, ‘The Road Not Taken’ opens the volume. For this reason, it’s natural and understandable that many readers take the poem to be Frost’s statement of individualism as a poet: he will take ‘the road less travelled’. But when we analyse Frost’s poem more closely, we realise how inaccurate such a summary of the poem is. Frost himself, two years before his death, lamented the way readers and critics had misinterpreted the poem, which he called ‘tricky’. You can read ‘The Road Not Taken’ here.
Rather than offer a summary of ‘The Road Not Taken’, we’ll undertake a brief paraphrase of the poem’s meaning. ‘I came to a fork in the road in the yellow wood through which I was travelling, and wished I could have travelled both paths. But obviously that wasn’t an option, so I spent a long while standing there and deliberating which to choose. After spending a good while looking down one of the roads as far as I could see, I then took the other road, since it seemed just as nice. And it seemed to be preferable, perhaps, because it wasn’t as well-trodden as the other – its grass was less worn. Read the rest of this entry
A summary of a classic Shakespeare sonnet
Sonnet 20 by William Shakespeare is one of the more famous early poems, after Sonnet 18. Its opening line, ‘A woman’s face, with Nature’s own hand painted’, immediately establishes the sonnet’s theme: Shakespeare is discussing the effeminate beauty of the Fair Youth, the male addressee of these early sonnets. Here is a brief summary and analysis of Sonnet 20 in terms of its language and meaning.
A woman’s face, with Nature’s own hand painted,
Hast thou, the master mistress of my passion;
A woman’s gentle heart, but not acquainted
With shifting change, as is false women’s fashion:
An eye more bright than theirs, less false in rolling,
Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth; Read the rest of this entry