Journey Symbolism in Literature

Topic: FamilyChildren
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Last updated: April 1, 2019

This analysis will critically analyze the symbolism of journey-and its literary importance- between “The Road Not Taken” and “I Used to Live Here”.

This critical paper chose to write itself upon symbolism’s journeys within literature. The tales chose are from “I used to Live Here” (Rhys) as well as “The Road Not Taken” (Frost). The choice in comparative analysis is due to how they both swim in a sea of metaphorical symbolism.The similarity is that both authors use the symbolisms in their literature.

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That’s where main similarities end. This researcher will write about how both authors use of symbolism is in different ways. Frost in his “The Road Not Taken is granted greater freedoms in artistic expression. The short story of Rhys is mainly using the literary techniques common to actual stories and there by constrained in.

The irony I think of these tales is the double use of Journey in symbolism.The tale is a journey and yet the journey within that journey is the symbolism in which shows a quest for truth maybe peace and eveven immortality. The journey symbolism used in these tales is a metaphor for the journey of life. Symbol, it is the use of a defined object to represent an otherwise abstract notion or concept. Symbol is originated from Greek in the verb “symballein” that means to put together and associated noun of “Symbolon” that means to “mark- taken- or a sign.

(Heritage Dictionary 2008).In literary works, a symbol is udder in the authors’ purposes for putting forth the idea in either a thing or person, or even the plot represents a concept on top of the “thing’s” literal concept or meaning. The things in literary works like Frost’s poem are a thing like a road that has a common knowledge meaning.

The road however: is used to suggest ideas that pertain to more universally applicable lessons that the only common day attributes or characteristics of a road. The appearance of symbols in our literature of Frost’s and Rhys’ writings appear in differeing ays to purport different meanings. Typically the symbols show up in different ways like: A word that may repeat or have significance; A figure of speech that runs the gamete of the story or poem constantly repeating over or creating the major frame work for the protagonist’s battles; a significant happening or event in the story line like a death or “Aha moment”; Else wise the complete action in the finishing of the story (usually used in short story form like the end of a journey based tale; Then finally the symbol can be a certain character within the story or poem’s dialogue.In the case of Frost, the road takes on characteristics of a character in the journey symbolism and is no longer only a road. The draws of the texts pull the reader in two different ways.

The primary pull of Frost here in is the hope of a difference from his divergent choice of path in life. The pull of Rhys is in how the sullen acceptance of the person’s passing is the whole purpose of the journey. Frost had themes throughout his written works in which are dealing with the tragedies and fears of humans within their lives.

They show his reaction to complex natures that life exhibits; subsequent to that, is his ultimate acceptance from burdens that rise out of life’s little adventures. Literary Symbolism “A symbol may be roughly defined as something that means more than what it is” (Perrine, 76). For frost in this case a simple road that shows lack of use is a life changing metaphor.

How either the road choice in this poem symbolizes a journey in life, small or large this symbol can always be seen throughout the history of human story telling.The road is part of Frost’s entire imagery journey throughout his poem. The imagery of grass being less trod upon shows how this pivotal point is in his joy of taking detours in life’s journey. Thereby, the reader is able to follow Frost’s journey through symbolism in his imagery with resulting emotional conclusion, in his gratitude for the bravery to follow his “road less traveled”.

The journey is the entire premise or symbol of the short story by Rhys in “I used to Live Here Once”. The symbol of one woman’s journey in her progressive acceptance of life’s major transition.This journey is given subtle imagery hints throughout; from simple things like she finds herself on one side of a river then realizes she is on the opposite side of the river , along with how rocks which were once slippery and treacherous now she finds, cause her no more difficulty than a walk in a garden.

Some speculate that the journey into death is the premise of journey symbolized in this short story. Taken then at face value the author also is using it also as simple journey from where the story physically begins to the journey back to the protagonist’s home.The speculation of death is in her destination to the children playing where either of the children does not notice her, then the sudden chill, felt by the children when she reaches out to touch them.

The story transitions back and forth from the narrator and the lady which shows some flaws within the author’s Point of View for narration. To start with, a journey one has to make the first step. “She” the main character begins the journey at the brink of a river.Recalling the intricacies, we hear her thought process on memories of countless times crossing the river and lessons learned about the stepping stones with in this river like the stepping stones across the river of life that constantly flows past people.

She speaks of how familiar she is with this starting point of the journey, and yet this time the beginning of the journey registers in her mind as different. Within the journey, there is a feeling as if the narrator is almost a parrot looking over the main character’s shoulder, haunting movements.The narrator details the thoughts on the familiar stones and the times she has made mistakes in jumping from one-step to the next. “The round unsteady stone, the pointed one, the flat one in the middle of the river- the safe stone where you could stand and look around. The next one was not so safe for when the river got full and water flowed over it and even when it showed dry, and even when it showed dry it was slippery (Rhys, 1996).

” A literary clue of the stones comes from how in-depth the narrator describes the stones. Involving the stones at such a depth so early on in the story is an example of foretelling.When an author overtly or subtly tells the reader the item is involved at a deeper level come from past or future points. Following “She” leaving the river is another stage of the journey symbolism. There some was almost a dream like transition from the river to the road. In a almost instantaneous transition like happens in dreams ‘She” finds herself by the road.

There comes a nebulous sense that some time had passed since She’d last set foot on this area. The narrator describes through her thought process in just how the road seemed different. T]he road being wider than before, yet noticing it looked old not a newly paved road. There were trees fallen that had not been cleared, and the brush was over grown and trampled. (Rhys,1996) The protagonist remembers countless times walking this same road before. There is an odd item here that with such a lot of work being done here with road broadening and trees being felled that she would not notice such a significant thing on her other journeys on this road. In comes the motif of the story in how She is constantly trying to identify with her life before she began a current journey that she has just started.

The thematic journey motif is continually shown in her transition form one stage of self-actualization to the next. It is shown on how when descriptive details, dialogues, figurative language and other actions develop a tale’s motif; otherwise shown as a repeated type of pattern throughout the story at hand. Rhys (1976) uses creative elements in their use here. “The Sky seemed glassy” “The road seemed different” etc..

Thusly showing a continual disconnectedness from her surroundings and her constant attempt at trying to understand why things felt so off place compared to her memories of where she used to live.The repeated used of this motif show the identifying of past life journey create the main premise for the entire story. Life is a journey, as is our afterlife. This is the theme and symbolic journey from both I Used to Live Here (Rhys 1976), and The Road Not Taken (Frost). Both of these tales give allegorical symbolism throughout the story in the journeys of their protagonists.

Some journies lead to self-actualization and or acceptance of what the person should learn. In Frot’s Poem the author shows how in his journey he learned just how taken the unbeaten path or life’s detours can “make all the difference”.In Rhys’ story/prose, the journey She’s given allows her to accept life’s transition and to move on to what new journeys may await.References American Psychological Association.

(2001). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed. ).

Washington, DC: Author. D, M. Chapter 25 Social Relations. In D. Myers, Exploring Social Psychology. Yale University Press.

Holybee, W. (2008, March 15). Retrieved March 15, 2008, from mailto://[email protected]

net Heritage American Dictionary 2008 McGraw Hill Publishers Perrine, L. (2005). Structure, Sounde and Sense. Harcourt: Brace Jovanovich.


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