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26 October 2014
Roll the Dice
Countless authors concentrate their art on relating a life story with struggles and
achievements along the way. Linking the theme of life in both Taylor Swift’s hit single “A Place
In This World” and the poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost is a prime illustration. Both
demonstrate building the confidence to successfully get through the obstacles of life while letting
go of their fear of the unknown.
“The Road Not Taken” is a poem demonstrating a man feeling misplaced in a forest,
hesitant about the path he is meant to come before. A fork in the road symbolizes the decision
about following a journey, doubtful of where it may lead. In the forest he ponders the different
paths as his head floods with thoughts, restraining his body from continuing. The extreme
trepidation of the unknown is causing him to take a sudden halt. Frost writes, “And be one
traveler, long I stood/And looked down one as far as I could.” Before continuing he glares down
the forest as far as he could, visualizing nothing but a bend in the road. The bend in the road
relates to life as a series of twists and turns. It frightens the writer and influences him to gaze
down the path, still unconvinced.
Overflowing with indecision, he slowly begins to understand there is no immoral path.
Any direction he chooses to go with will outline a future for him and a story to pass on.
Accepting every twist in life, he will develop into the person he is meant to become, regardless
of possible regrets and suspicions. Knowing it is unrealistic to stand in the woods forever, a 2
decision is made. “Then took the other, as just as fair,/And having perhaps the better
claim,/Because it was grassy and wanted wear;” writes Frost. As his confidence develops he
contemplates the road less journeyed. Frost writes “Because it was grassy and wanted wear,”
demonstrating a less traveled road that the writer is pondering over.
The speaker begins to believe in himself along with knowing fate will guide the way.
Frost writes “Yet knowing how way leads on to way,/I doubted if I should ever come back.” The
confidence he obtains convinces him to chose the path he believes is less traveled. “Two roads
diverged in a wood, and I—/I took the one less traveled by,” exclaims Frost. The decision sends a
message to the reader, portraying his bravery after choosing a road less traveled. Mindful that
there is no turning back and discontent can surface, he is satisfied knowing he chose the road less
traveled. The fear and doubt presented earlier in the poem took a turn of events when the writer
decided to form his decision.
Frost enlightens the reader when stating “And that has made all the difference.” The
specific ending to the poem provides the reader with closure. Realizing forks in the road create
anxiety, stress and a foggy mindset, but accepting reality and proceeding down a path is a part of
life. His confidence within provided a decision to pursue a dream and continue down a path,
aware that nothing in life is guaranteed.
Taylor Swift wrote a song with a similar tone as “The Road Not Taken.” Her song
describes being a young girl trying to find a place in this world. Swift sings, “I am not the only
one in the world who feels this way.” Her vision is clear, but she is not sure of the path she is
destined for. Just like “The Road Not Taken,” there is uncertainty of what the future has in store.
Pursuing dreams is always a gamble. 3
Her fear of the unknown encourages her to write a song. She describes through her music
that she doesn’t know where she belongs in the world. “I don't know what I want, so don't ask
me/Cause I'm still trying to figure it out,” says Swift. She is faced with options and is unsure
what is the best choice for her future. Her lack of confidence blinds her to see her dreams as a
reality. Swift eventually realizes, “Even though I'm not the only one/Who feels the way I do,”
describing the realization that everyone confronts obstacles in life.
Later Swift considers that she is not the only one in the world facing a pause in her steps;
this helps her gather enough confidence to chase her dream. “I'll be strong, I'll be wrong, oh but
life goes on,” Swift explains. Self-confidence is crucial when choosing a focus and direction in
life. The line demonstrates her understanding that being wrong is not a bad thing, but being
strong will get her through it. Either path she chooses, life will go on. “Feeling lucky today, got
the sunshine/Could you tell me what more do I need,” sang Swift.
At last, a clear vision of sunshine, a metaphor for a brighter day. Inspired by her own
dream, she decides to proceed in a determined direction. Taylor chants, “And tomorrow's just a
mystery, oh yeah/But that's ok/Maybe I'm just a girl on a mission/But I'm ready to fly.” Her
decision to take a path despite the after-effect led to the production of her first album, initiating
the development of her music career. Her choice of pursuing her dream is a reflection of
following an unfamiliar path regardless of the risks.
With the fears of the unknown, Swift and Frost both gain the confidence to take their
destined road. They both undergo a fear of uncertainty, but pursue a path anyway. In the song,
she decides that being scared is okay and resumes down the road she believes would fulfill her
dream. “In The Road Not Taken,” the speaker describes fear of the unknown as well, but after
gaining the confidence he decides to choose one direction to pursue. 4
Common feelings and situations tie these two pieces together. Regardless of their fear
they know that the only option is to trust their instincts along with the journey they choose. A
roadblock will create uncertainties and confusion, but standing still will not provide possible
opportunities. Both stuck in their tracks, they decided to make a decision based on instinctive
Forks in the road aren’t a dead end; they are the foundation to a resolution and a future.
Both writers understood in spite of the road they chose, they would always make another halt.
Nothing is everlasting and eventually they grasp that life is all about making decisions, pushing
onward and taking risks. Both writers determined to lead their own path, with the thought of
Just like a heart monitor, life goes up and down and once the line is straight there is no
more existence. Curve balls are always thrown; there is no such thing as a perfect world.
Everyday is a new lesson and experience. If the path chosen always had all of the answers, hard
work and contrary emotions would never arise. Without experiencing doubt, puzzlement, and
distress there would not be an opportunity to enjoy the sensations of bliss and confidence. In
order to appreciate desired emotions, the undesirable have to be experienced as well. Optimism
creates a vision and acceptance of confronting all obstacles of life, guiding a person down a trail
of greatness, regardless of the road taken. 5
Frost, Robert. “The Road Not Taken.” Literature for Composition. Ed. Sylvan Barnet,
William Barto, and William E. Cain. 10th ed. New York: Longman, 2014. 205.
Swift, Taylor. “A Place In This World.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 29 Jan.
2012. Web. 16 Sept. 2014. ...
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