However, the larger part of the poem exhibits elements of American Literary Modernism. The aspect of this modernism is that the poem has a very basic language. However most of the poem’s modernistic elements emanate from the meaning of the poem. A lot of unclear things are present in this poem. Additionally, the poem’s mood is also not particularly uplifting. The unclarity of the poem is first displayed in the 2nd stanza where the poet describes a path as “ grassy and wanted wear”. This means that less people had used that particular path in comparison to the second path.
However, the poet contradicts himself in the next set of lines of the poem where he states that the level of wearing of the two paths was “ really about the same”. The following stanza presents more contradiction when the poet states that the two paths “ equally lay/In leaves no step had trodden black”. So from this line, it emerges that the two paths were not only free from any type of footsteps, but they were also covered in a lot of leaves. This is contradictory because the poet had just given a description of one of the poems as being grassy. Is the poet confused?
The fact that the mood of the poem is also not particularly uplifting is also a modernistic element. In the first stanza he states that he “ shall be telling this with a sigh”. This implies that things did not actually turn up like he thought they would. The title of the poem ‘ The Road Not Taken’’ is also signatory to this mood because it implies that the author is pondering whether he should have taken the other road or path.
The unclear meaning is also visible in “ Mending Wall” when two neighbors are fixing a fence to separate their properties and one state that they might actually not need the fence and one responds that “ Good neighbors make good fences”. This is a very ambiguous statement.
In conclusion, Robert’s frost is very modernistic and appealing. His poems like “ The Road Not Taken”, “ Mending Walls” and “ Birches” clearly exemplify the American Modernistic elements in addition to being very articulate and well written poems. The main elements in these poems that make them modernist include their unclear meaning, the not so happy mood and finally their relatively simple language simple. These aspects in addition make the poems appealing.
The original “ Richard Cory” poem by Edward Arlington Robinson and its song adaptation by Paul Simon share several similar attributes. First of all, the central theme is the same. In both works, the main character, Richard Cory appears to be somewhat distant and aloof from the rest of the community due to his position and wealth. It appears as if Paul Simon was more interested in the unfolding mystery; that is why Richard Cory might commit suicide when from the outside it appears as if he is living a charmed life.
The poem’s first two stanzas place focus on Richard Cory, but not very much on his general perception. His description seems almost factual. Although the poem’s perception of him is significantly positive, the author does not actually bring up the jealousy or envy issues until the third stanza’s ending. However, Paul Simon’s song introduces the envy idea much earlier in the song. He uses a first singular narrator who essentially envies the position occupied by Richard Cory. The contrast is exhibited further because this narrator works in the same factory. Simon also emphasizes the factory’s workers poverty much earlier. This in contrast to Arlington poem where it is just expressed in one line “ went without the meat and cursed the bread”
In the “ Richard Cory” song, Paul Simon adds an interesting concept where he assigns Cory a larger than life status. He is not just a rich man but he is actually the richest. The details of his connections, patronage and parties are explicitly expressed. In the poem however, Cory appears to be more subdued, for example it is stated that he was “ human when he talked” and “ quietly arrayed”. This is particularly very important because the song emphasizes the central theme more. From original poem, one might think that Cory is depressed or that he was an antisocial person, or even that he did not know how to enjoy his money. Paul Simon however cleverly omits this and shows that Cory actually had social life as well as various connections. He also shows that Cory did not just enjoy his money selfishly but that he sometimes even gave some to charity, something that would probably have made him feel gratified or even more contented with life.
Therefore, it emerges that there are many aspects or attributes that are similar in both the original poem and the song adaption, Paul Simon the author omits some aspects of the original poem and also adds some aspects so as to further enhance the question why a seemingly successful and contented man like Richard Cory would take his own life.