“Mirror” and “The Road Not Taken” by Sylvia Plath and Robert Frost
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In poems “Mirror” and “The Road Not Taken” by Sylvia Plath and Robert Frost respectively, the authors extensively make use of images to convey to the audience the feelings of the characters and the flow of events.
In her poem, Plath uses the voice of a mirror that sees the world without any prejudices and misconceptions. The author uses a visual imagery when describing the mirror as being “silver” to show that the surface of the mirror is smooth and clear and reflects the true image of the one in front of it. In line five of the first stanza the poet also uses a metaphor comparing the mirror “to an eye of a little God”, that sees everything, but has no power to change ones life.
In the second stanza, there is a transition in poem, as now the mirror is a lake. Despite the change in form, the role of the mirror has not changed. Here, the theme of life surfaces, as a “woman bends over” the lake. She sees her reflection in glass surface of the water, which tells her the bitter truth that she does not wish to hear. She turns to the candles and the moon, which the speaker describes as “liars”, and faithfully reflects her back while she has turned away from him.
The mirror’s truth is concealed in the characteristics of life itself, as life constantly changes and evolve, shortening ones time on this planet. In the final lines of the poem Plath writes: “In me [in the lake] she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman / Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.” Here the author series of metaphors to refer to the youth that now is now in the distant past, and a “terrible fish” rises towards her, which is a clear image of death and end of ones life.
In her poem, Sylvia Plath uses images to describe the nature of the mirror that reflects the outside world exactly and truthfully. The author forms an image of a mirror that does not necessarily possess the ability to affect ones life and can do nothing but show the truth of life and how it changes, even though sooner or later it will lead one to emptiness. The second poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost clearly describes how the changes in life affect ones life and his death.
Frost, in his poem, underlines the importance and influence of the decisions that one makes on his life. The author describes a two roads that diverge, leading the person in one or another direction. This theme also present in the image of a fig tree that the hero of Sylvia Plath’s novel Esther Greenwood has when faced with a dilemma of deciding on her future life. The only difference is that the speaker in the poem makes his decision at a time when Esther remains undecided.
From the first lines, the author sets the atmosphere for the poem, by using a sensory image of a “yellow wood” which is often used to describe autumn and yellow, dying nature. This exemplifies that the speaker is to make a choice that will determine his future life and everything depends on one of the roads that he chooses.
The first road seems very long as the speaker says: “[I] looked down as far as I could”, showing that it is unknown to him as to where it leads. The other road he describes as being “grassy and wanting wear”. This metaphor is used to describe a road that has not yet been used and is covered with thick grass, preventing one from seeing its end.
In line eleven the author notes that both the roads “lay in leaves no step had trodden black”. This image conveys to the reader that both of the roads are full in mysteries as leaves have covered them from the speaker’s eyes. This also links with the first poem, as one constantly faces the changes and difficulties in life that are unknown to him beforehand.
In the last stanza, the speaker refers to the road that he chose as the one less traveled by. The author here might be referring to himself as to why he chose to become a poet instead of taking the first road that many others preferred. This situation also links with the concept of life, which is also relevant in the first poem.
Both Sylvia Plath and Robert Frost use imagery to create a vivid image of the speaker and his surroundings. Plath uses images to describe the role and the characteristics of the mirror, when Frost describes the roads that fork in front of the speaker. The two poems are closely linked with the theme of life with its ever changing flow, surprises, mysteries and its inevitable end.