The Social Importance of Ellison’s and Frost’s Literary Works
It is apparent, based on the readings of these two literary masterpieces; one of which has been Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken and the other being Ralph Ellison’s Battle Royal, that they both convey a message of social awareness. In Ellison’s work, the theme was explicitly expressed, while for Frost, it was presented in a more subtle and repressed manner.
Based on the presumptions achieved after delving on the social issues that these two literary works had discussed, it is highly evident that they both shared distinct similarities as well as differences in their aspirations to advance their respective messages that are concerned with the prevailing issues on social/cultural equality, as can be evidenced in the journeys that their respective protagonists had to endure, as portrayed in these stories.
It is notable that while Frost’s The Road Not Taken was fundamentally concerned with the path that the author had chosen to traverse, specifically his choosing a path less traveled that had led him to success, Ellison’s Battle Royal discussed the racial issues that African Americans of the preceding centuries had to tolerate, as they were largely regarded by the White supremacists of the era as being the inferior race. Despite of the seeming difference in their social genre, these two literary works had exhibited a striking connection, especially when perceived in reference to the themes that are present in them.
Similarities The first similarity that is most noticeable is their employment of the first-person point of view. In most certainty, this technique was utilized in order to effect a more emphatic narration of both the story and the theme. As such, Frost’s use of “I” in attempting a forceful recounting of events, such as the line, “And sorry I could not travel both and be one traveler, long I stood” (Frost 1), and Ellison’s line that goes, “That I am nobody but myself.
But first I had to discover that I am an Invisible Man” (Ellison 1), have both been effective primarily because of the employment of the said technique. Another similarity that proved to be an important aspect in the study of the aforementioned literary works is the connecting idea that the African American protagonist in Battle Royal had himself opted to travel the road less taken, which for himself meant having a good education, garnering academic honors, and hoping to change the way that Whites of his era had been considering his people.
With this same line of reasoning, we can lead ourselves to believe that Battle Royal is the practical manifestation of the precepts that were conveyed in The Road Not Taken, especially with the line “Live with your head in the lion’s mouth. I want you to overcome them with yeses, undermine ‘em with grins” (Ellison 1). It is also worth noting that both of these stories intrinsically have an older man who is considered as the wiser version of their younger self.
In Frost’s poem, this was evident in the fourth verse, where the employment of the word sigh, plus the line “Somewhere ages and ages hence” (Frost 1) had clearly expressed this reality; while in Ellison’s story, the protagonist’s older self was the sagacious grandfather in the latter part of the story. Differences While it is true that despite of Frost’s literary work being a poem and Ellison’s being a short story there are still numerous similarities, it cannot be disputed there are likewise many differences that set their works apart from each other’s thematic and structural genre.
First among these differences is the notion of racism that is very evident in Ellison’s Battle Royal. While it is very clear that Ellison’s basis for his work was the racial inequality prevailing during the era that relegated the Blacks as a slave race, Frost was more concerned with the general notion of success. His message that the younger generation ought to learn the importance of pursuing one’s dreams was explicitly expressed in the said poem, and had achieved this aim in a racially-neutral manner.
Another clear difference between the two literary works is the apparent optimism that was suggested by the success that Frost was able to attain, and the failure of the protagonist in Ellison’s short story to cause a progressive change to his social environment. Although lacking of any elaborate descriptions, this success-failure comparison prove to be the most evident difference as one reads along the stories of the two authors. This truth can be said especially in Ellison’s case, wherein history would show that the racial equality that was promulgated by the protagonist would not be realized until several generations were to pass after him.
Hence, while Frost ultimately had been successful in his aim, Ellison had to be historically deprived of success. Lastly, although they both utilized the first-person point of view, there is still a marked difference in the presentation of the story line. Perhaps this was because of the fact that Battle Royal is consisting of several characters other than the main protagonist that necessitated several shifts of attention among the characters involved, as opposed to The Road Not Taken, where there is only one character involved—the poet himself. Conclusion
The two literary works of art that are the points of attention in this comparative study have both exhibited stark differences while at the same time displaying prominent similarities that had contributed to the immensity of the subjects that were delved into. Perhaps what is important, despite of belonging to different genres of literary artistry, is the reality that both of these works were able to cause their audiences to reflect on life in general; one towards the notion of actively pursuing their life’s goals, and the other in promoting the absolute abolition of racism.Sample Essay of Eduzaurus.com