Emotional BarriersWe all deal with our emotions in different ways.
Some of us shout them out and some of us bottlethem in. Whatever you choose to do is okay, aslong as it helps you. Robert Frost chooses totouch on different ways of how he might react inan emotional situation in his three poems:“Mending Wall,” “The Road Not Taken,” and“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” Each poemdeals with his emotions whether it is the barrierwalls that he keeps between himself and other, thedecisions he has to make or the how he chooses todeal with all of these problems. When I read thesethree poems, it forced me to think about my ownemotions and what I would do in each of thesesituations.
We have things that we dont want others to see.
Secrets that we dont want to share, misfortunesand wrongdoings that we are too ashamed to speakabout. These are only a few of the many reasonsthat we all keep emotional walls or barriers up.
They are there for our protection, or so we think.
We believe that by keeping people away, they cannot hurt us. This is true, but when we push themaway, what are we missing? Robert Frostcontemplates this exact issue in his poem “MendingWall.” The speaker in this poem doesnt know forsure whether of not he wants to keep this wall upbetween himself and his neighbor.
“Before I built a wall Id ask to knowWhat I was walling in or walling out,And to whom I was like to give offense.”He is worried about what he will miss by keepingthe wall up, yet he continues to help his neighborrebuild it. We all have times like this in ourlives. In a perfect world we would like to keepour walls down and let everyone in, but we cant,because we are still to scared to be able to trusteach other. Emotionally, it is much easier to liveand not get hurt by keeping people at a certaindistance. You can stop them from coming to close.
If you let them past your wall, youre lettingthem into your mind. Youre telling them all yoursecrets. Telling them about your past. Youreinviting them in. This is wonderful at first, butit leaves you wide open and vulnerable.
Unfortunately, this is the way I have chosen tosee it. I have been hurt too many times for me towant to let anyone else in. This is not a good wayto live your life, but its the only way thatseems to keep me safe. Its kind of like climbinga ladder to reach a prize. The higher you climb,the closer to the prize, but you also have a muchbigger chance of falling. The less you climb theless chance of getting hurt. I have climbed thisladder one too many times, and each of them I havefallen off right when I reach the top. This is whyI have chosen to keep my wall up; Im just tiredof falling.
Making this decision wasnt easy. In fact, it isalmost never easy to make an important decision.
You are always stuck wondering what would havehappened if you gone the other way. In RobertFrosts poem “The Road Not Taken,” he wonders atthe difference it would have made in his life hadhe chosen to go down the other path. This poem issymbolic for every important (and even the not soimportant) decisions you have had to make. How doyou know if you have made the right decision? Isthere even a right decision to make? Is each pathof the same importance to your life and you justhad to choose one? Will one make you fail? Whilethe other one make you succeed? These are allquestions that Frost has brought up in “The RoadNot Taken.”“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,And sorry I could not travel both”We have all wanted to walk down both paths, seewhat lies ahead, but we know that it is impossibleto do so. You can never go back and change yourdecision. The thing that Frost has learned andthat we need to remember is that there are nowrong decisions. Each path holds the same weightin how your life will turn out. In “The Road NotTaken,” he has decided that either path ordecision is just as good as the other:“Then took the other, just as fair,And having perhaps the better claim,Because it was grassy and wanted wear;Though as for that the passing thereHad worn them really about the same.”You may choose to go down one road, thinking thatit is the “right” road, but years later you couldfind out that it was probably bad to make thatdecision. Or you could happen to make the “wrong”decision and find out that it has helped you inthe end.
I made a choice like this in tenth grade. I chosenot to take the suggested math classes in order totake a few more photography and art classes.
Everyone, except my parents I, believed that thiswas a bad decision. “You need math, you dont needart.” Thats what everyone said to me. They allthought I was crazy and that I was sending my lifedown the drain, but in fact, my decision to goahead and take those extra art classes hasprobably saved the rest of my life. By takingthose classes in tenth grade I was able to get theskills and credit I needed to be accepted into theMinnesota Center for Arts Education (or Arts Highas we like to call it). For my senior year, I wasable to go to a school that was primarily focusedaround the arts. Not only did my decision affectmy what highschool I went to, it also effectedwhat college I got into. From the reputation theArts High has, I was able to get into RISD. Whoknows whether or not I could have gotten inwithout all the experience I had gained throughthe simple decision on whether or not to take amath class? As Frost says “Oh, I kept the firstfor another day!” so did I. I ended up takingthose math classes that I had missed, at the ArtsHigh. But we know that you cant ever go back,that the decision will always be different. In mycase the decision was different, it was better,because at the Arts High they teach math that isgeared around the arts.
When you make an important decision, whether ornot things go the way you wanted them to, theconsequences can often leave you feeling depressedor confused. We all have ways that we take care ofour problems, and one option is to get away fromit all and think. This is the way that RobertFrost has chosen to deal with his problems in hispoem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” WhenFrost says that he is stopping “Between the woodsand frozen lake, The darkest evening of the year,”we get the picture that whatever problems he wasdealing with he was not happy about them. Frost isobviously bothered by something important. “Mylittle horse must think it queer, To stop withouta farmhouse near,” shows that he feels the need togo somewhere empty, somewhere alone.
“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,But I have promises to keep,And miles to go before I sleep,And miles to go before I sleep.”When he says “But I have promises to keep,” he haschosen either not to admit his problems to anyoneelse, or maybe he cant even admit them tohimself. He admits that he has a lot more thinkingto do and that he has not come to a conclusionwhen he states twice “And miles to go before Isleep.” He is speaking figuratively here thatuntil he figures out what to do, he will not beable to get any rest. Frost probably does notactually mean sleep when he says rest, but maybejust rest in general like giving his mind a break.
Many people have a very hard time thinking aboutanything else when they are dealing with animportant issue and this is where Frost has chosento end his poem.
I do not agree with most people when they say thatRobert Frost was writing about suicide with thispoem. He wrote this poem to express his feelingsof the need to get away for awhile, to think. Thisis exactly what I choose to do when I have issuesand problems I need to think about. Suicide isdefinitely not something I have thought about whenI want to be alone for awhile. I just need to beaway from distractions. Unfortunately, living inthe dorms has taken away my privilege to do that.
At home, I have always had the advantage of havingmy own room. No matter what happened, I had theoption to go to my room, shut the door, and getaway from everything. Now I am not so lucky. WhenI have had a bad day, gotten in an argument orjust even want to be alone, I have to worry aboutmy roommate being there. This makes it really hardfor me to deal with any problems that I mighthave.
Dealing with your emotions is a difficult thing.
Each of us has our own ways in which we choose todo so. In his three poems “Mending Wall,” “TheRoad Not Taken,” and “Stopping by Woods on a SnowyEvening,” Robert Frost has just started to touchon how he might react in different situations. Ihave thought about and compared what I might doand what he might do. In many ways