Comparison Essay


In comparing Because I Could Not Stop for Death by Emily Dickinson and The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost, there is a clear element that comes out in both poems. Both tackle with the issue of decision making in a descriptive essay. Dickinson uses five stanzas and four lines in the poem while there are four stanzas and five lines in Frosts’ poem. Both pieces have a regular rhythmic pattern. Frost uses a more obvious rhyme at the end of all his lines. In the contrary, there are occasions when Dickinson skips rhyming even though the general rhythm of the poem remains.

The competence of the poets is clearly seen in the meters used in the poems through their subtle application in the poems. There is an obvious stress in the syllables of Dickinson’s poem when spoken loudly. This stress is evident in each syllable of the poem. The poets also used a similar style for their poems. There is the factor of surprise applied in both poems; this technique is mainly employed at the end of each poem. This is shown through the personification of death used by Dickinson revealing the attitude of the poet

The speaker in the poem The Road Not Taken has a tough task of making a decision regarding the road to take in life. The poet uses the road metaphorically to represent life choices. In the point of deciding on the road to take, the speaker hopes that the choice he makes brings good to his life. It is a time for making the best decision that would lead to no regrets in the end. He considers this turning point by saying, “And looked down as far as I could / To where it bent in the undergrowth” (Frost 223). He then decides to take up the less travelled road.

In the poem by Frost, the narrator feels to be in conflict with the decisions at hand. He desires success but is not sure of the choice that would make him conform to the societal expectations of success. It is an individual versus society conflict because he knows that as he seeks personal success, the society will be there to judge his decisions and weigh his achievements against the decisions he made in life. The experience is different to that in Because I Could Not Stop for Death since it presents individual versus the supernatural conflict where the narrator decides to personify death and goes with it on a romantic ride (Dickinson, 1960). The narrator seems to be in denial of reality and cannot make personal decisions in life and, instead, decides to live as if she were dead long ago. Unlike in the case of Frost where the narrator takes a personal decision to make choices for his life, Dickinson’s character prefers living in fantasy by shying away from the reality and simply dreaming about how life would be after death. It is like facing the fear of the unknown and being unable to make bold decisions regarding life.

Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken and Emily Dickinson’s Because I Could Not Stop for Death present similarities and contrasts to the reader. The latter is a figurative display of the stages of life that one goes through to the point of death while The Road Not Taken is about being in charge of one’s life and being ready to take responsibility of the decisions one makes. The poet looks into the difficulty of making decisions with some occasions being of success while others being of regrets depending on the road of life taken.