Robert Frost

When I was in primary school I was required to memorize and recite one of Robert Frost's most famous poems, at the time I hated it but now that I am older I appreciate the experience. The poem that I am referring to is "The Road Not Taken" and it is now one of my absolute favorite poems. I now see that Frost was trying to tell the reader that just because a road well traveled may seem easier, it is not always the best choice and you should choose whichever path in your life that will lead you to success and happiness. "Fire and Ice" is another one of my favorite Frost poems, it is so beautiful in it's own short and concise way. It describes the two most powerful emotions in humanity and compares them to two of the most powerful forces in the universe; the burning fire of desire and the ice cold feeling of hatred. I am not entirely sure that I understand the message that Frost may have been attempting to convey in this poem but I do agree that if I could choose I would rather die by fire than ice. I believe that he may have been saying that he would rather die loved than hated but we can never be entirely certain because we are not the poet. “Acquainted With the Night” has always held a certain amount of curiosity for me as well. I too love to walk at night and be surrounded by the still of the night but I don't think that was the entire message in the poem. I have often gotten a feeling of old London streets when I read each line and thoughts of Jack the Ripper also come to mind. I have always wondered what Frost was trying to say in this poem, I mean was he an insomniac that took long walks at night or was he writing as a dark character who prowls the night? We can never be sure about the true meaning of this, or any, poem either but they will always hold separate meanings for every reader who like delve into the works of Robert Frost or any great author or poet.


Stephen Crane and Edith Warton

Stephen Crane's Poetry

I am uncertain of what to think or say about Stephen Crane's poetry other than I found it sort of dark and drab. He seems to question many things about life in general and writes about life as if humans have no real control over the things around us that make up our lives and the lives of others. He also speaks of God in many of his poems; working off of people's beliefs, his own beliefs and the existence of God in general. Poetry and other works dealing with God and religion are often hard to understand unless you agree with the point of view that the poet is attempting to convey. Crane was raised in a very religious household and lived in a time where religion was everywhere; so I often wonder what he really believed when it came to God. I think it would be fascinating to be able to sit down and talk with someone like crane and have a theological discussion, though it might be dangerous for me to express my beliefs to him; you know the whole burning at the stake thing wasn’t completely outlawed when he was alive. I did really like the poem called “In the Desert”, it was very dark and interesting to me. Though I’m not entirely sure that I comprehend what Crane was trying to say with this poem; was he seeing himself and calling himself bitter or was it meant to be men in general? I think it might be a reflection of battle torn men who become bitter after many years of battle and eventually lose their hearts in the carnage. I’m not sure if that makes one bit of sense to you but it sort of does to me so I guess that its ok then.

"The Open Boat" by Stephen Crane

This story is oddly interesting and cruelly ironic, why did the most likely man to survive actually die? I suppose Crane just wanted to show how cruel and ironic nature can really be, even if it doesn't always work out that way The coolest thing about this story is that it was based on the true events of the shipwreck that Stephen Crane experienced in 1898 on his way to Cuba and Crane is in fact the real correspondent in the story. It sort of makes me wonder who the other three men he was stranded with really were and where the cook and the captain ended up later on in life; though I did look it up and found out that the oilier was actually named Billie Higgins but no names were provided for the other two boatmen. I think having neat little facts like names makes the story come alive and makes you realize that this really happened and it isn’t just Crane’s slightly macabre imagination. I cannot see myself shipwrecked and stranded on a tiny lifeboat; for one thing, I cannot swim very well so I would have been the first person to die if we had to bailout of a swamped life boat. For another thing, I am pretty scared of water of significant depths so I wouldn't go out on the open sea without a life vest or water wings or something. Plus I cannot last too long without food or insulin because my sugar would go haywire and I could go into a coma or die; so it would be death by drowning or death by diabetic coma, I don't like either of those choices myself so I think I'll stick to dry land where I cannot be stranded in a never-ending expanse of undrinkable water.

"The Other Two" by Edith Wharton

Wow this story is so close to events in my own life that it's scary. I think Alice has the same problem as I often do, with her former relationships. I have kept in touch with several of my former lovers and that habit has caused a bit of trouble for me in the past and even now to tell you the truth. It is rather odd that her husband and her two former husbands run into each other so often; I mean does that happen a lot in real life? I know my current boyfriend and my former boyfriend run into each other every once and a while but they try to stay clear of each other. So why did Varick insist on going to Waythorn for his financial business; could he not find anyone else or did he just want to be close to Alice again? I think it has something to do with Alice because of how they seem to act around each other. I'm the same way with one of my exes, we want each other back but we can no longer have each other because we are involved with other people so we talk a lot in an attempt to stay faithful. I could not imagine what would happen if Chris, Josh and Brandon were to gather in a room with me for tea though; Chris would be civil but I'm not sure about the other two because they have a history as well. You know what? I think I need to write a book about my crazy love life, maybe it would turn out pretty good. I do think it is interesting that the three husbands seem to get along fairly well in the end, though it could be just because of Alice and possibly Lily. I really enjoyed this little story and I think I will have a few people I know read it and see what they think.


The Yellow Wallpaper

It seems like every time I take one of Nancy Risch's classes I always end up reading "The Yellow Wallpaper" but it is a great story so I don't really mind all the much. Last semester in American Women's Studies, we read a piece on the reasons behind the story and what the author hoped to get out of it. It mentioned that she wrote the story as a sort of warning to both doctors and their patients that isolation and rest is not a cure for depression or insanity, in fact it often makes the situation worse. I have personal experience that shows that doctors now understand that the rest and isolation treatment don't always help; they wanted to admit me to a mental ward for a while a few years back but they thought it might make my condition worse so they sent me to a psychiatrist instead. I'm very grateful for that decision too because who knows what isolation would have done to me or my family for that matter, I could be peeling off the wood paneling in my room by now or something. I've never understood on what grounds that doctors in the past based their treatments, most of the antiquated remedies made things worse or created another problem altogether. Take for instance bloodletting, physicians would cut open the veins and bleed out the parasite that was causing an illness but it only did one thing for certain and that was cause severe anemia or infection. I often wondered what exactly was wrong with the young woman in the story; was she just depressed or was she bi-polar or schizophrenic or did she have a severe case of postpartum depression? The author is never quite clear about what ails her or even what her name is. No matter what I think this story is really interesting and fun to analyze


Howells, Hart, Bierce, and Harris

"Editha" by William Dean Howells

As well written and beautifully worded as it is,I found this particular story to be very odd and I did not care for it much. To think that someone would welcome the thought of war and actually want their significant other to go off to fight, or possibly die, is absurd. As a girl who grew up around the military, I know what it feels like to have someone you love off to some foreign place serving their country to give you a better life. My loved one was my father but I could never imagine giving up my boyfriend, fiance, or husband to any cause that could get him killed. Now don't misunderstand what I am trying to say, I love the military and I am grateful for the freedoms they have given and continue to give me; I just do not like wars that have no solid foundation or outcome that take the lives of innocent men, women and children. I do,however, understand the viewpoint of Editha; she wants George to fight for her and give her something to be proud of her man for. But seriously, couldn't she choose something a little less dangerous or life changing? I mean knights used to joust in the honor of a lady they were courting so its not that uncommon of a practice but at least jousting was a bit less life threatening than actual war...its just play war. I mean chivalry might be pretty much dead but if my boyfriend offered to win a video game or basketball game or something in my honor it would make me happy, so I think Editha has a few issues she needs to work out with George if they are going to be a successful couple, no matter what era in history the are in.

"Tennessee's Partner" by Bret Hart

I will begin by saying that I did mot enjoy this short story at all, it just did not interest me nor did it make much sense to me. The plot is ok i suppose but it calls to mind a recent event in my own life, which made me dislike it even more. Tennessee's partner's wife meets Tennessee and runs off with him and then when that relationship falls through, Tennessee and his partner are back to being friends again? I'm sorry but things like that don't happen in the real world. In the real world Tennessee's partner would have been furious at both his wife and Tennessee for their disloyalty to him and would never have taken Tennessee back as a friend unless of course he felt sorry for Tennessee after his tramp of a wife did him the same way. It is almost scary how similar the situation is in my own life; my current boyfriend was the best friend of my former boyfriend but they did not make up when my current boyfriend and I ran off together, so you see I know for sure that these things don't happen for real no matter how much anyone wants them to. In addition to the story being lame, the names Harte used were really annoying; even now as I am typing them over and over again they are getting on my nerves. Why not use normal names like John or Bob or George? Its much more practical and a lot less confusing and annoying. I think this story left much to be desired and I definitely would never have read it on my own accord, but I guess that is why we have these assignments, so our instructors can force us to read things we wouldn't otherwise pay any mind to.

"An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce

I don't have very much to say about this story except that it was very fun to read, it keeps you guessing until the very end. I love to read stories that have a skip between time, whether it be a dream or a memory or a flashback, I think it adds a lot of flavor to the story and it keeps the reader on their toes. I really liked the way that he described the sound of the watch ticking away the man's last moments; if you have ever been in a room waiting for something to happen, the sound of the clock can be almost deafening. I am a bit confused as to why the main character decided to go to the bridge. Was he actually going to burn it down and got caught or was he just there being nosy and paid dearly for his curiosity? I do commend the main character for trying to be a good Confederate citizen and everything but he should have just left everything to the real soldiers and shouldn't have stuck his nose where it didn't belong. I did not, however, completely like the way it ended; I liked that he went home to his wife but I think that it was awful to make him blackout before he reached her. Death is a mystery yes but I think that for the most part everyone, no matter what religion, believes that you go to a heavenly place after you die and I think that if he had gone to heaven it would have been right there at home with his wife and family, not an eternity of black nothingness. So if the author had changed it to where he had a slightly happier fate, I think I would have enjoyed it a bit more but overall I found this to be the best of all the stories we have read this week.

"How Mr. Rabbit Was Too Sharp for Mr. Fox" and "Free Joe and the Rest of the World" by Joel Chandler Harris

First of all, I want to make it clear that I cannot read that crazy hick dialect that these stories are written in and the more I tried the bigger the headache I received. Such a dialect may have existed once upon a time but it no longer does so I think we should be allowed to read a translated version or something. I don't mean to sound unpleasant but when you have to read and write as much as we have to, you definitely want everything to be more simple and less like a Vulcan mind meld. With that said, I enjoyed both of the stories themselves and they sort of bring to mind a few of the Aesop's Fables I heard as a child, even though I have never heard a Braer Rabbit story before now. I think I liked the second story better than the first because I found it very sad but sweet. Every woman would want a man that would love her enough to wait for her forever and ever even if it meant death. However sweet the thought, I don't think I would want anyone I love dying for me even if it is because they love me; I couldn't bear the thought of my boyfriend dying in the forest waiting for my return to our favorite tree or something. As for the fox and the rabbit story, well I think it was very clever. The fox is a very smart and cunning animal and I cannot see how he fell for such a stupid trick; besides, isn't the fox or the coyote supposed to be like the master tricksters? Not rabbits. So props to the rabbit for being a smart little rodent and getting himself off the menu for now. I think I might read a few of the Braer rabbit stories to my niece one of these days, if I can find it in modern English or a children's version that is.