Journeys- Robert Frost

Last Updated: 03 Apr 2020
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“It's the journey not the arrival that matters” as journeys are often a metaphor for that which transcends the physical realms of one's travels. It is the medium for arrival that allows for the opportunity for self-discovery. The complexities of life as revealed throughout Robert Frost's poetry, use ordinary, physical journeys in nature to demonstrate how journeys often reach beyond the physical sense in which they are composed. Similarly, the novel Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and the short film, “Harvie Krumpet,” present the plight of ordinary people and the life changing possibilities of journeys.

An equally prominent theme is the occurrence of the need for changing paths as obstacles arise and the effect such change has upon the arrival. These texts demonstrate how the intended destination is often not the final destination. The composers, through the use of a variety of literary and filmic techniques show these similar themes throughout the texts. Consequently, the composers are able to present their understanding of the concept of journeys Frost's poem, “The Road Not Taken,” is an extended metaphor for lost possibilities or missed opportunities.

The persona reflects upon the impacts of a decision and, perchance, what may have been. This is evident in, “I shall be telling this with a sigh/ Somewhere ages and ages hence. ” Thus, the responder can conceive the persona is dubious as to whether the right decision has been made. Furthermore, the text contains repetition of the image of two roads diverging. This symbolises the arising of pivotal moments where decision are required. This aids the responder to connect with the persona as in every part of life decisions are required and choices are often difficult to arrive at.

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Frost also conveys the idea that journeys have a tendency to flow smoothly whether the outcomes are positive or negative. This is portrayed through the consistent rhyme scheme throughout the stanzas. The flowing rhyme scheme enables the reader to become immersed within, and to concentrate heavily upon, the hidden meanings within the text. Balanced against this is Asher’s novel, Thirteen Reasons Why, which portrays the notion that journeys are impacted upon by the decisions that individuals make, altering the course rather than sailing smoothly along the original path.

Asher suggests that the final destination constantly changes as obstacles arise and are overcome, consequently allowing for self-discovery along the path. Asher demonstrates how journeys are not a solo venture. Often journeys commence within an individual but are impacted upon by the actions of others. For instance, Hannah Baker commits suicide after constant mistreatment by her peers. Her journey commenced trying to find a sense of belonging. Unfortunately, this didn’t occur and dire consequences were to be the result.

This is evident in the use of ellipses to represent hesitation, reflection and the severity of consequence when Hannah states, “Do not take me for granted… again,” and, ”A lot of you cared, just not enough. And that… that is what I needed to find out. ” As a result, the responder can connect with Hannah through empathy and the understanding that self-discovery relies heavily upon the journey and the events throughout rather than arriving at the destination. Similarly, the short film, “Harvie Krumpet,” exhibits the similar theme that obstacles will be required to be overcome.

Harvie’s journey is one of self-discovery that transcends the physical realms of the loss of his parents, his migration and the development of Alzheimer’s. On the contrary to Thirteen Reasons Why, Harvie retains a positive outlook on life and this enables him to constantly strive for success. Every person is unique, thus, people undertake their own unique journeys. The responder is immediately informed Harvie is unique through the use of subtitles at the commencement of the film. “Some are born great, some have greatness thrust upon them – others are just different. ”

Harvie’s life experiences are juxtaposed with his near always-cheerful attitude. Harvie must adapt to a foreign lifestyle after migrating to Australia yet his spirit never dies. This forces the responder into self-reflection, considering things transcending the physical realms and discovering the inner strength to continue the journey. However, Harvie’s unfortunate circumstance isn’t permanent unlike the impermanency of nature as revealed in Frost’s poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay. ” Frost uses this text to demonstrate that nature’s beauty can never remain when, “Nature’s first green is gold/ Her hardest hue to hold. The effect of this couplet is to inform the responder that often what is desired can’t last. Contained within the third couplet is an allusion to the Bible and the Garden of Eden, “Then leaf subsides to leaf/ So, Eden sank to grief. ” This demonstrates how the perfection the Garden of Eden was impermanent and shows the responder that change is inescapable. The extremely simple diction of monosyllabic words throughout the entire eight-line poem helps the text to flow smoothly in the same way as “The Road Not Taken. ”

Frost also uses “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” to reveal how innocence changes as self-discovery occurs. Self-discovery transforms the individual and Frost uses the symbolism of a flower to demonstrate the changes occurring during life. “Her early leaf’s a flower/ But only so an hour. ” Ultimately, all the composers demonstrate complimentary themes that demonstrate how it is the journey not the arrival that matters. Journeys are the medium that allows for the transcendence of physical realms and the development as an individual in the process.

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Journeys- Robert Frost. (2017, Jul 01). Retrieved from

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