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Poem analysis writting sample for McNair Scholars Application. Grammar and sense check.


jorgearmando18 8 / 32 9  
Oct 6, 2015   #1
Hello Guys,

Thank you so much for helping me, your help is greatly appreciated. What I'm looking for is any grammar / structure errors you may spot as well as anything that doesn't make sense to you, coherence of ideas, suggestions for improvement and critical thinking. I need this essay to be really good since it's for my application to enter the McNair Scholars Program which is a research grant basically.

If you want a little background, this is an essay I composed a couple of years ago for my English Composition II class. It is a poem analysis of the poem "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost. I suggest that you DO NOT read the poem. You should be able to know what is talking about without having read the poem. That is basically the main reason why I'm submitting my essay in here.

Again, thank you so much!!

Uncertainty of Choices

We are individuals of free will - we make choices we deem appropriate to satisfy our needs, and we follow the paths we think will take us to our desired destinations. Unfortunately, it seldom is a simple process. Paths diverge, and, eventually, decisions become inevitable. At times, if we have some luck, we get to see hints that guide our decisions to follow a certain path. Perhaps it is the beauty of a waterfall, the comforting sound of the bird's chants to a sunny day, or the refreshing breeze of the summer's ocean waves. However, other times it is not quite that easy and making decisions can turn into a frightful event. It could go so far as to haunt us at night and force us to dwell in a foggy cloud of mixed feelings and blurry vision. Robert Frost uses symbols and metaphors in his poem, "The Road Not Taken," to talk about those paths: the ones that inevitably diverge and force us to look back and wonder where the other path would have taken us.

Frost's poem presents us with a very common dilemma everyone can identify with: choosing which path to follow in our lives. The first verse of the poem reads: "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both" (Frost page number #). Choosing a path from a diverged road is something that everyone is familiar with both literally and figuratively. Roads are very often analogized into making critical decisions over one's lifespan. From the very beginning, Frost makes sure that we understand that choosing both paths is not an option; hence, the fact of having to choose only one without knowing what awaits at the end of it is a rather undesired situation. Frost stresses the difficulty of making decisions that would essentially change the course of our lives forever.

Through the second stanza of the poem, Frost portrays the two roads that are, although differentiable from one another, essentially the same. He mentions he took the road that was more "Grassy, and wanted wear"(page number). This statement often misleads readers into thinking that this road had been less traveled than the other. However, he also mentions that "the passing there had worn them really about the same"(page number). Frost shows how his character was trying to find reasons to convince himself that one road was better than the other; when in reality, they were essentially the same. It is obvious that Frost's character found himself looking for something that did not exist, which was something that would make himself feel better.

The last stanza of the poem is perhaps one of the most misunderstood stanzas of all time, yet it is at the same time the one that culminates a whole life story in as little as five verses: "I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence; Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference" (page number). Although it looks like the author wanted to convey a comforting message of success and satisfaction, it is precisely the opposite that stands true for this poem. This last stanza makes the poem have the wonder many avid readers look for: a misleading message that only those who dare to submerge themselves in the hidden meaning of words will find. Frost is not fulfilled about having taken one road over the other; he had stated before that both roads were the same. Frost forces us to look into the future and know that at some point we will encounter ourselves with the disappointing and dark feeling of regret. In the future, once again, he will try to look for a reason to justify the choices he made, yet the not so comforting thought of wondering to where the other road leads will stay with us for the rest of our lives.

Robert Frost leaves one message, and it is not a message of bravery or fulfillment. It is a message of crude regret, and the fact that it is inevitable. It does not matter which road you choose, which paths you take, or which life choices you make; you will always look back to the past, sigh, and wonder what your life would have been like. Where would the other road have taken me? Certainly, curiosity not only kills cats. Libba Bray said in her book titled A Great and Terrible Beauty: "There are no safe choices, only other choices"(page number). Some things are just meant to be left to fate. Robert Frost wrote "The Road not Taken" to reflect on how haunting our thoughts can be. His use of symbolism to represent life choices as a path to be taken is subtle yet intimidating. Frost did make sure to leave one message clear: choices matter more than we think they do - they can shamelessly haunt us, endlessly follow us, and change our lives forever.
vangiespen - / 4,134 1449  
Oct 6, 2015   #2
Jorge, the work you did is really interesting to read. It has an insightful take on the poem by Frost and uses just the right amount of quotes from it to illustrate your points. There is a simplicity to the way that you wrote the analysis that tells the reader that you were going for an easy to understand type of analysis that would not require the reader to think too deeply about the work. I am sure you got a good grade on this in your English II Composition class. It would have deserved it at the time. However, you are now telling us that you plan to use this same essay to hopefully, help you get a research grant. That is where my admiration for the work you did begins to falter. I find myself wondering if the work is good enough? If I were the person reviewing your application, what would I think of this work? Can it still be brought to a higher level of writing? Those are the questions that I decided to base my advice and comments on. I hope you will be receptive to it :-)

We are now talking at least a masters level degree of analysis within the essay. It has to connote a much deeper understanding and analysis of what Frost may have been thinking or experiencing at the time he wrote the poem. So now, the work that you wrote seems to be, in my opinion, too easy and immature for a more experienced and quite possibly, jaded literature critic / reviewer who will be examining your work.

I am not saying the work is not good because it is. In fact, I see it as becoming the basis of your more advanced analysis of the work by Frost. Try to dig deeper now than just at the parts that you have. Maybe you can review the poem and see how much of your opinion of it has changed since you first wrote this paper. Use those new opinions to update this current work. It should help bring the essay to a much higher level of writing and understanding of the poem.

Again, the original work is very good but as a scholarship sample, I think it has room for improvement. Just so we can be sure that your essay will stand a better chance of getting noticed by the reviewers :-)


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