Using nature to symbolize feelings or thoughts in a poem or short story gives the reader an idea of what the author is describing, but it also gives them a picture to imagine as they read. The Oak by Tennyson might symbolize strength and wisdom and uses simile style to describe an object. The Road not Taken by Frost might symbolize the way certain choices affect our lives and uses a persona to reflect the characters thoughts. Both are poems and use the natural elements to describe how they are feeling or a choice they must make in life.
I chose these two because they symbolize things that we all go though in life by describing choices we have to make by using two roads that can be traveled, or by describing an old oak tree to symbolize someone growing and maturing. “Poetry often uses particular forms and conventions to suggest alternative meanings in the words, or to evoke emotional or sensual responses. ” (Poetry 2010 Para. 3) Devices such as alliteration and rhythm are used to achieve musical or incantatory effects. The use of ambiguity, symbolism, irony, and other stylistic elements of poetic diction often leaves a poem open to multiple interpretations.
Similarly, metaphor, simile, and metonymy create a resonance between otherwise disparate images?a layering of meanings, forming connections previously not perceived. (Poetry 2010 Para. 3) When an author is describing what a character is going through in a short story, poem or a drama using these layering meanings give the audience or reader another way to envision what they are reading or watching. You could Just say a guy was standing at a crossroad and decided to take one way and not the other, but then you would be missing the emotion and the meaning behind the choice he had to make.
It reminds us that we will always face choices that will be hard but we must choose and live with the effects of that choice. Themes tell us what a short story or a poem is about. It gives us an insight into what we will expect to be reading when we look at it. Themes can be anything we experience in life, from nature, love, birth and death. From the things we do every day, to the things that only happen on occasion and test our strength Symbolism in a short story or poem provides a literal identity for something we may know of in another way.
There are many different words that can be used to symbolize something. Trees can symbolize strength and wisdom, seasons can be used to symbolize the life span of a person. A fork in the road can symbolize the choices we make in life. The Oak by Alfred Lord Tennyson written in 1889 is a poem that uses similes and figurative language to describe something to the reader. A simile is a direct comparison of two objects that are similar in at least one aspect. In this case he uses the seasonal changes of an oak tree to compare the development patter of a person’s life. Glutton 2010) Usually the two usages are kept apart according to context, but he draws the two contexts together. This makes it possible for him to create an implicit image later on. (Richards 1988 pig. 16) Trees have also been referred to as wise old trees; much like an old person is referred to as a wise person. So when we watch a tree grow from a little seed to a massive oak tree over several lifetimes we think about a child growing inside a mother, to being born and growing old and dying, Just like an oak tree.
Although the lifespan of the oak tree is greater the lifespan of the human we can still show a correlation between the two. When we think about an oak tree and the aging and development process of it, one an compare it to the process of human life. We start off small and grow into strong adults. When I look at a tall oak tree I of think of the strength of the tree to have grown so tall and how much that tree has “seen” over the years. “A symbiotic relationship exists between trees and humans. Humans breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, while trees breathe in carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen. (Miller 2010) The most important similarity between humans and trees is that each tree, like each human, is unique and beautiful in its own way. Trees do not always grow the same branches or even the same shade. Humans do not always look the same either. “Poetry may be written independently, as discrete poems, or may occur in conjunction with other arts, as in poetic drama, hymns, lyrics, or prose poetry. ” (Miller 2010 Para. 1) Tennyson also incorporates rhyme into his poem. I look at an older wise person much the same way. Comparing an old oak tree to wisdom and strength is the simile found in his poem.
I enjoy reading Tennyson work simply for the fact that he uses colorful similes to describe what he wants or is thinking. When he talks about spring he can be talking about new life or new beginnings. The hanging of the leaves symbolize a person maturing or growing. It brings the imagination alive to the different ways of thinking about the nature of things we are around every day but never really pause to think about them. We pass by trees every day and never really stop to think of the importance they play in our lives. Trees change Just like we do.
They start very small and continue to grow as they are given what they need to survive. The Road Not Taken written by Robert Frost in 1916 is a poem that the focus changes trot the particularity to the choice, in this case a road, to the nature to the choice aging, which direction should he go in. (Glutton 2010) It is written in the iambic tetrameter, which employs an “baby” rhyme scheme in each of its four stanzas. (Merriam-Webster) He compares the paths in front of him and describes the choice he must make. A Persona refers to the narrator in a story or the speaker in a poem, who may or may not reflect the perspective of the author.
In this poem we find that he has two choices ahead of him and that he is debating the look of each path to determine which way he should go. He weighs his options of going down a road that any have gone before him or to take the road that very few if any have traveled. The narrator has two similar choices, but picking one and being satisfied with the choice is what he is trying to do. The choice is not Just about a particular road but about a life path as well. His choices signify many choices we all have in our daily lives.
We all come to a cross road now and again and have to decide which path we will take. Sometimes the results work out great and sometimes we realize we have chosen the wrong path and must live with that choice so we must learn to weigh the consequences of the choice that we make. Frost has summed up this daily life routine in such a short poem that it is hard to believe that there is such a bigger meaning hiding in the symbolism of the poem. I believe that the meaning of this poem will make me think of it every time I come too place where I must make a choice of which direction I should go.
He talks about two roads, one that is a well-worn path where many have traveled, and one that has only been traveled by the wind and leaves that blow over it. He wonders if he should take the path that is known or if he should try the new path and see what lies beyond. He takes the road that has not been traveled and seems satisfied with this choice. He is satisfied with his choice and doubts that he will ever return to the other path. Although there is a little sadness in the poem because he does wonder what would have been if he had taken the other path instead. It is simple it in symbolism which makes it one of his most popular poems.
The poem offers an entertaining double perspective on the theme of making choices, with one perspective fairly obvious and the other more subtle. (Andrews 2002) When thinking about these two poems, most might believe they are similar because the authors use tauter to symbolize the meaning or theme of their poem. The theme may be the same but the content and meanings are different. Even the styles of the poems are different. The both have a rhyme and rhythm they follow as well. The Oak however is about symbolizing the growth and development of a human by describing the seasonal patterns of an oak tree.
The Road Not Taken is about the choices we make in life and the consequences of those actions. Things we do in our lives every day described in a way that gives us a visualization of the poem and elicits an emotional response from the reader. The authors to these two poems like to use our natural surroundings in their works This elicits a spark of imagination from its readers. The reader is able to visualize what the author is portraying in his work. Each poem has its own meaning even though it may use some of the same words. In The Oak he uses the seasons to describe the changes.
Autumn can mean aging, while summer can mean maturity. Winter can mean death, stagnation or sleep, while spring meaner birth or new beginnings. (Glutton 2010) He uses the word gold to define the perfection of the color of the changing leaves or the sun that is shining down. In The Road Not Taken he uses two roads that he has come upon to symbolize a choice that he must make in his life. This is something that we all do every day. He uses a persona in his poem that may or may not reflect him personally, but one that we all relate to as we read his poem.
In life we all come to a path where we must choose a direction and go down that path knowing we may never be able to go back and travel the other road another day. He describes the path that he wants to take as grassy and in need of use. He is sad that he will not be able to travel the other road, but by taking the less revealed road he feels has made all the difference. Although he starts the poem off in an exited tone, by the end he is sighing with sadness that he will most likely never be able to go down the other one. He goes through different emotions so the tone never stays the same in the poem.
The tone of The Oak stays the same throughout the poem. It is a cheerful and hopeful poem, while The Road Not Taken takes the reader through a couple of different emotion. Sadness, excitement and contentment are the three main tones in the poem. The poet uses simile to help readers understand something new by comparing it tit something familiar, however in a metaphor the comparison is implied. This is the biggest difference between these two poems. They both use nature to symbolize their meanings they Just use different styles to achieve their goals. Both poems elicit an emotional response from the reader.
The Oak makes us think of a person growing and maturing and going through different stages as they grow. The Radar Not Taken reminds us of the choices we have to make in life and how we must deal with the path that we have chosen to follow. We also are reminded of what could have been if we had Just gone down that path, but never knowing what would have been. I love reading poetry because of the feeling I get from reading it. Short stories can have the same effect as reading a poem, but it does so in a slower manner. It is drawn out through the story. In a poem we get the emotional response quick.
Most poems are in short stanzas, but some can be a little longer and be written in a rhythmic tone so that may be sung or chanted. Some sound better being read aloud, while some seem to be better when read silently. When an author uses the natural elements around us to symbolize personal experiences, they are doing so to elicit an emotional espouse from the reader while painting a picture for them. When a story or poem is written well, though, its theme will come alive through the characters, action, and other elements and it will be broadly recognized.
When someone reads Romeo and Juliet, a story that uses a lot of symbolism to express the love of the characters for one another, we are carried into the love story, but also their fight to be together. We feel for them because the author created such a beautiful picture with his words for the reader. Poems are powerful and some have been remembered throughout history for the significance in their meanings. Poems are long and short, happy and sad and bright and dark. They can make us laugh and cry or bring back old memories that were long forgotten.
They remind us of choices we have made and the choices we have ahead of us. They remind us of the love we have for those around us and the love we get in return. What’s more powerful than that? Some people even consider songs that we hear on the radio as poetry because the singer will sometimes use symbolism and metaphors in their songs. These metaphors and similes open up the reader’s imagination and give them the ability to “see” what they are reading. We get a deeper kook into the authors meaning and theme when we are reading the poem.
When we compared The Oak to The road not taken we found that they have similar themes but that they are different in their meanings. The author’s took us on a small Journey into their work and showed us that is other ways to view our surroundings and how we live with the choices we make in life.