Look over an essay?

Discussion in 'Art & Culture' started by Jinoda, Mar 30, 2005.

  1. Jinoda Registered Senior Member

    I was wondering if it would be appropriate for a few of you to look over an essay for me?

    It is a simple essay on Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods On a Snowy Evening", so it will take a basic knowledge to read. By the time any of you read it, it will be handed in, so really this is just for creative input and construcive criticism.

    BUT, I won't be posting it here if it would be inappropriate (I know how often people come looking for free essays and such, and I don't want to fuel that, nor do I want my essay plagiarized).

    If it's allowed, I'd like to hear some of your comments.

    (Oh, and hopefully it won't be cesspooled by being "unintelligent"

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  3. Jinoda Registered Senior Member

    Alright whatever, I'll just post it.

    It was a quick run through when I wrote it, so it's not terribly in depth, but I was hoping to find out if any of you think I got the main point of the poem.

    First, here's the poem itself:

    And here's my explication:

    Any comments and criticisms are welcome.
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  5. CounslerCoffee Registered Senior Member

    It's interesting. But a word of advice: don't start your paragraphs with "In the second stanza," or "The third stanza," and "The fourth and final stanza,".

    Granted, each stanza does deserve its own paragrah, but starting a different paragraph with the same, or similar, line really shows a lack of style. It makes it look a bit drab.

    Other than that, I know nothing about poetry and it seems interesting to me.
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  7. AngelOfDisease Registered Member

    I'd say that's probably my only complaint over this essay, as well. I'm never one to conventionally open a paragraph or be blunt with the force of my words. I'd call that essay a stab above most of the vulgar pissants I've trodded across, and hope you've earned a grade above a B minus for the effort.
  8. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    I'm a real dunce with poetry and your essay helped me understand a rather famous poem. Thanks. All I'd add is that the darkest night of the year might arguably be the new moon closest to the winter solstice rather than the solstice itself. But that's trivial and pedantic and doesn't affect anything. The winter solstice falls just a few days before Christmas. I don't know how it was celebrated in Frost's day, but in our era that night would be rather gay and hectic and the landscape would be saturated with shoppers and partygoers. Shows how changing times can affect the interpretation of art.
  9. Jinoda Registered Senior Member

    Yeah I know my paragraph introductions are weak, it's just tough for me to think of new ways to open them up.

    Thanks for the comments, and I guess we'll see my grade next Wednesday.
  10. Less Than Zero -1 Registered Senior Member

    I can't wait. It should be a giid grade!
  11. Mexicomarti Registered Member

    When what you need to talk about seems to be a list, you can improve your paragraph intros by just juggling the words around a bit. For instance,

    "We learn about the speaker's background in Stanza Two with the words"...etc.

    Then you can leave the paragraph about the third stanza alone, and then for the fourth, start with the quote:

    “The woods are lovely, dark and deep” (line 13), in the fourth and final stanza, leads us to our conclusion......yada yada yada.

    I have no quarrel with your content, it seems a decent enough explanation. I personally have never liked this poem much. It always seemed somewhat sappy to me, but it was written in a different era. I've tried to equate it with the same situation in modern times, a person in a car stopping to look at the lovely scene, but this modern person would not hear the 'sweep of easy wind and downy flake,' over his car radio/CD player, nor would his car be indicating an anomaly here. And the phrase 'miles to go before I sleep' has much more to it if you are driving a horse drawn open carriage in a snow storm than if you are popping home in your heated car with snow tires.

    This poem is heavily dependent on the horse imagery; and I think it depends on what kind of mood you are in as to whether all those references to dark, quiet, etc. refer to death or just to a guy stopping for a break before getting on with his life.

    Nice essay on your part.

    Marti in Mexico
  12. water the sea Registered Senior Member


    First, some other stylistic suggestions:

    "... (line 1) tells us that ..."
    "... (lines 3-4) tells us that ..."

    Make yourself a list of words and phrases to express this -- you already use different ones ("reveals", "we learn", ...), but it doesn't seem to be the result of a systematic effort.
    Everything says or tells us something -- but some things reveal, some other lead us to think, some make us discover, some close themselves to us ... and so on. Think about these words and concepts, make yourself a list. It should come handy many times.

    * * *

    Secondly, just for comparison, also read "Des Wandrer's Nachtlied" by J.W. Goethe (You speak German, right?), and "Cancíon de Jinete" by Federico García Lorca.

    (I'll try to find English versions in the meantime.)

    * * *

    Thirdly, there are some things that I find odd in your interpretation. It's an interpretation, of course, so we can't argue whether one is right and the other one wrong. But I would like to see your arguments for yours.

    Why do you think he longs for death?

    (I suppose once you decided he longs for death, to you the verses And miles to go before I sleep, / And miles to go before I sleep. begin to stand for depression and fatigue.)

    What is your reason to think the speaker has hit the lowest of lows in his life?

    Again, unless you decide that the poem is about longing for death; I don't see where the poem says that things won't get better for the speaker.

    Just for comparison, take Frost's famous poem:

    The Road Not Taken

    by Robert Frost

    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
    And sorry I could not travel both
    And be one traveler, long I stood
    And looked down one as far as I could
    To where it bent in the undergrowth;

    Then took the other, as just as fair,
    And having perhaps the better claim,
    Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
    Though as for that, the passing there
    Had worn them really about the same,

    And both that morning equally lay
    In leaves no step had trodden black.
    Oh, I kept the first for another day!
    Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
    I doubted if I should ever come back.

    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.

    Does this sound sad to you?

    I think it is odd that so many interpretations of poems go thus:

    1. The speaker thinks about life and death.
    2. He finds death inevitable and dreadful.
    3. Death is coming.
    4. But for the sake of being optimistic, let's say that there is a ray of light in there somewhere.

    Personally, I don't find "Stopping by Woods On a Snowy Evening" to be about longing for death. I see no depression in it.
    It has a certain solemnity and earnestness of mind though, similar to that in "The Road Not Taken", that may be foreign to our thinking.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2005
  13. Crimson_Scribe Thespian Registered Senior Member

    My two cents: Frost is talking about contemplating suicide and decides to continue to live.

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