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One can say that a strong connection and interaction has always existed between a poet and nature. It is in the nature the poet finds the deepest source of inspiration. By tradition, the poet is viewed as a stranger or a hermit having a primordial soul, and only with nature he can find a common language. Poetry not only finds the rhymes and verses in the world around, but in the spirit of elements and unpredictability they contain. It has the absoluteness of expression, which is not accountable to any reasonable goal. The poetry is seen in two ways - in how it retrieves the harmony of nature and how it subjugates it of its own accord. That is why the topic of nature is so appealing to the poets. Sometimes only this theme can reflect the poet’s thoughts and perceptions the best. American poets are not thane exception from the rule. Mary Oliver and Robert Frost, being considered as the most “naturalistic” authors of the American poetry, in their poems “Wild Geese” and “The Road Not Taken” provide nature with new, interesting meaning.
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There is much in common in these two literary works, such as form (they are both poems), topic (nature and to some extent - choice) and language (it is poetic and descriptive). However, even these similarities do not make the works the same. Firstly, the image of beautiful and magical nature is achieved with the help of language. Mary Oliver in “Wild Geese” uses very poetic stylistic devices. She uses simile such as “the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese.” One may notice that “Wild Geese” is full of repetitions, for example, she uses the pronouns “you” and “yours” several times in order to address the thoughts to the reader, or “meanwhile” in order to point out that the world and life passes by while people revolve around unnecessary things. In addition, Oliver chooses the words to reflct the sounds of nature and make her poem speak and sound like the nature does, for example, using the word “harsh,” stressing “sh” like the sound of leaves in the wind (Bonds, 1992). Furthermore, the author’s language is very figurative and imaginary for the reader to see the picture of wild geese in the sky over the landscapes far beneath.
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The writing style in “Wild Geese” is highly poetic and soft, which gives the poem a female touch. Indeed, when reading this poem, it is obvious that it is written by a woman (Bonds, 1992) in contrast to “The Road Not Taken” being the example of the “male” literary work. Frosts’ writing style is rhythmic, a little rough and brisk. The author’s language is not as descriptive as Oliver’s is. Frost uses simple words, simple descriptions, and it seems that simplicity in language is the characteristic feature of this poem. The language reflects the plainness in the image described in the poem (Wien-hsin Tien, 1983). Unlike the beauty of life and nature mentioned in “Wild Geese” the author uses poetic language to draw the reader’s attention to what is happening around, “The Road Not Taken” creates an image of two roads of yellow sand, one overgrown with grass and second being a beaten path. The simplicity of words contrasts with the hardship of choice.
One may not notice from the first glance, but the content of these two literary works is connected, although written using different stylistic devices. Both authors talk about shaping the life and being free in one’s choice. Robert Frost reflects about choosing the appropriate way in life, being different from others and following one’s own choice. In addition, he describes the very moment of choice, i.e. standing at the parting of the ways and thinking what road is the right one (Wien-hsin Tien, 1983). However, he adds that, with time, he will make a lie froom his life and would have chosen a less traveled road. This irony creates a changeable impression of the poem, and the importance of making the right choice comes to the fore, primarily for the purpose of not lying about one’s life in the old years (Montiero, 1988). Furthermore, Frost has hidden the secret sense in his poem. He secretly points out on the importance of not regretting the choice people make in life (Montiero, 1988). By words “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” (Schmidt, 2008, p. 21) he ironically describes the regret some people feel about particular choices in their lives.
Mary Oliver, in her turn, also talks about the problem of choice. She points out that people think about shallow things and forget about the beauty of life. She claims that individuals care about comforts of others and overlook their own life. She compares human beings with the wild geese, who are free in the sky, do what they want, but always come home (Bonds, 1992). In addition, she points out that it is a person’s own choice whether to suffer from restrictions and limits or pay attention to what is going on around and do what he/she wants to do. Oliver claims that being restricted or “wild goose” is an important choice, and a person should “let the soft animal of your body love what it loves” (Oliver, 2013). However, one should never forget that, as wild geese, people should have a place to call home and come back and be loved at the end of the day.
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The ideas of both authors are depicted with the help of nature. Such deep and immortal human problems as choosing the way to follow in life and the freedom of being expressed through nature and its images, allots Mother Nature with human lineaments. In these two works, a human being is perceived as part of nature, and vice versa - the nature as part of a person.
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