The poem, “The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost asserts the impacts of a journey through the least trodden path. Symbolism is when a thing is used to represent an entity. For instance, Frost asserts that the road “was grassy and wanted wear” (1920, 8); to insinuates that the narrator will pass the grass road even before the narrator is at the cross-roads to help the reader know how the narrator makes decisions. Grass affected the decision that the narrator makes at the cross-road in which he decides to take the least taken road because of its tall grass that wanted to wear. Just like Frost’s poem, Jean Rhys short story “I Used to Live Here Once” emphasize how a young woman tackles her journey to recall her identity as a dead person after taking a journey in which she interacts with two children who neither get to see her ghostly appearance nor respond to her “Hello” greeting.
The road not taken looked ideally like the other road except for the fact that the other was more used but not on the specific day the traveler is making the journey. The whole poem is a symbolism of death in which the author emphasizes taking a journey across the woods into the future in which there was no point of return. Moreover, the author desires to return and be able to travel the remaining road as well to know what it contained too; however, that too is a symbolic dream since the narrator accepts the taken grassy road and he mentions “I doubted if I should ever come back” (Frost, 1920, 20). At the end of the journey, the narrator is contented with the option to go alone. The journey into the yellow woods is a poem personifying a dead person deciding on the best course of life after departure from the physical realm. Consequently, the theme of the poem is choosing the best and safe path to physical life success in relation to spiritual awareness of the narrator to make choose the path of life away from the stereotypical gate to heathen.
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Rhys explains that the young mysterious woman’s encounter with the river that is symbolically separating alive people from the dead. When the protagonist states that “The screw pine was gone” (Rhys 4); an awakening emotion confuses the protagonist to signify that she is not real since pine is considered to represent resilience in life. Lack of pine signifies lack of capacity to regeneration thus creating imagery that the protagonist is dead. Equally, pine represents immortality and in that case the absence of the tree represents the mortal being of the girl.
The steeping stones represent the life struggle through which the protagonist has gone through as a path of life. However, there presence of “round unsteady stone” (Rhys 1); symbolize the cause of the woman’s fear in which she probably stepped on the unsteady and slippery stone falling into the river. Both authors use symbolism of natural elements like Rhys used river, road, pine and sky just like Robert uses a road, yellow woods and grass to naturist elements used in the short story. Furthermore, the statement, “the sky has a glassy look” (Rhys 3); refers to her process of drowning in which she saw the glassy sky as the last thing before going across the river of life. Therefore, “Glassy” is symbolic of change that takes place between physical life and spiritual life which is the form in which the woman appeared before a girl and a boy playing beneath a Mango tree in her former home. The author confirms that the protagonist in the short story is dead at the last line when the protagonist is awakened to note that she was already dead since the girl and boy never get to see her nor feel her presence. Moreover, the author reveal that the woman’s home has been taken over, the road is under construction to mean life is going on and that the protagonist was away for sometime without her knowledge of the same. Therefore, the journey is a self-awakening journey for the woman to realize her new identity. Equally, Frost’s poem details an awakening journey through the yellow woods in which self-awakening takes place because the narrator choose the right and approved path.