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Literary works are intended to provoke human thought and emotions into action. In this regard, the literary work that captured my interest was Robert Frost’s ‘the road not taken’. This is a poem written in a persuasive language and relates to the moment in a person’s life when one is at a crossroad. In real life it reaches a point when one is faced with a ‘make or break’ situation, where the path one chooses determines his/her destiny. Robert Frost breaks the ice with his first line “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood” (Clugston, 2010). Instantly, the image of a crossroad disappearing into the thick forest appears in my mind. In this vision, both of my feet are struggling to outdo each other on which side to take. This portrays how humans make effective responses, which may vary depending on how our cognitive judgment relates to our personal literary experiences (Clugston, 2010).

In essence, Robert Frost’ poem ‘the road not taken’ echoes a life experience I had when I was growing up. Clugston (2010) remarked that in order for one to experience literature, an intentional decision must be made to transform one into an imaginary realm. Take an example of the line “and looked down as far as I could” (Clugston, 2010). Here imagery must be implored if I am to actually connect the line with a similar life experience. This essentially shows how literature can be used to explore the depths of human experience by searching the meaning (Clugston, 2010). More specifically, the poem takes me back through a journey in time. Additionally, the persona’s voice intends to dramatize personal experiences through collective disintegration to establish the connection between the present and the past (Grabes, 2005). Consequently, it makes me to review the chronology of my life events into a historical perspective.

Several analytical approaches have been proposed as a means of accomplishing literary criticism. Clugston (2010) observed that the most effective pattern should involve the following process: connecting, considering, and concluding. In this regard, the reader-response approach provides the most suitable platform that can be used to perform effective literary analysis. This approach entails finding specific elements in the chosen literary work that influence one’s feelings and opinion (Clugston, 2010). Hence, readers are required to delve deep into the personal life and establish whether there are certain coincidences in relation to the literary work. Using this method, readers should ask themselves leading questions to establish whether the work evokes a unique feeling, a curiosity, an emotion, or an aspiration (Clugston, 2010). Once the reader has connected with the story, he or she can make proper judgment based on the most appropriate assumptions.

To apply the reader-response approach in the context Robert Frost’s poem, this will involve delving into one’s personal experiences with an aim of finding coincidences. To illustrate this we can pick a line from Frost’s poem. For example, “I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference” (Clugston, 2010). Just by reading this line, there is a sense of curiosity that comes into my mind. It prompts me to think of major decisions that have led to a turnaround in my life. This takes me back to a time when I chose to follow my father’s advice regarding education. This evokes an emotional sensation in me and I immediately connect with the poem this experience. Hence, this poem shows how the process of making life changing decisions can be challenging. It reveals the uncertainties of life and how life’s events occur by chance. Thus, the reader-response approach is an effective approach that effectively activates human imagination.

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