Robert Frost: The Art of Modern Ambiguity

Robert Frost is considered a very detailed poet of the twentieth century, mostly recognized for his ambiguous poetic style and philosophical writing aspects during the modern era. Although most of his poems are usually written in the traditional forms of blank verse and sonnet form, Frost heavily includes topics of true modernism, such as unknown truths and the complexity of the human mind. Despite his ideas of modernism, Frost only treads on the cusp of the modern period, making one wonder if he truly belongs to this period of modernist poetic prowess. In reality, the ambiguity of Frost as a poet allows him to include a traditional sense of poetry in the newly introduced era of modernism. His poem “The Road Not Taken” further displays this uncertainty of human decisions as the speaker claims, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference” (lines 18-20). The question is, has it truly made all the difference? Although he includes this line, throughout the poem Frost emphasizes how the two roads are not so different after all, yet the speaker is convinced the one he or she chose is more significant than the other. Frost has his speaker make a specific claim, but implies various other claims through the speaker’s “voice”, once again depicting the ambiguity of his words as presented in his themes. His ideas are unclear and left for much interpretation, but this is what makes his works part of the modernist era. While making modernist claims through simple language, Frost still utilizes the traditional form of rhyme scheme and rhythm, showcasing his leaning toward both ideas of poetic nature. In the artwork shown below, both roads are emphasized and one is slightly more appealing than the other, just like the intention of the poem. Modernism is present here as it depicts what the human mind initially sees as opposed to what actually awaits at the end of the path. The human mind is complex, and Frost normally based his poems off of everyday life choices and appearance versus reality. One path seems desolate initially, but there is a clear blue sky at the end. The other path looks luscious and green, yet ends off with stormy clouds. A tree with an apple of each side stands in the middle, possibly alluding to the story of Adam and Eve with the apple of temptation. The artist so cleverly includes an apple on each side, demonstrating how both roads are tempting in contrasting ways. Despite the path one takes, each holds sorrow and joy, just in different places. Both realities are inevitable as they are both a significant part of one’s life, something Frost so effectively conveys in his works of modernism. In the end, Frost’s modern pieces of work have become tradition to readers, further demonstrating the ambiguity he holds. 

The Road Not Taken by Michael Bosnar

This entry was posted in 2018 Spring Modernism, American poets, Honors English III, Modern American Poetry, Modernism, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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