Some people go through their lives without reflecting about how their decisions have shaped them as a person. The poems “Fire and Ice” and “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost both use the importance of decision making and its effects on the way we live to highlight how our path through life is defined by our choices. At the same time, Frost uses the extreme opposites in “Fire and Ice” and the similarities of the choices in “The Road Not Taken” to explore human nature and permanence of decisions.
“Fire and Ice” is a poem that paints a bleak picture of the future in which there are two paths, fire and ice, that both lead to the end of the world. Frost uses language throughout the poem that appears to be simple, but is actually very effective at communicating deeper, insightful meanings. He connects fire and ice to desire and hate and creates multiple levels of complexity. For example, the simple passage “Some say the world will end in fire, / Some say in ice.” (“Fire and Ice” 1-2) introduces the two main symbols in the poem, but, at the same time, pulls the reader in because desire and hate are so personal and such a significant part of human nature. After the symbols are presented, the narrator involves himself or herself in the poem by saying “From what I’ve tasted of desire / I hold with those who favor fire.” (“Fire and Ice” 3-4). A clear decision is made here in favor of fire, implying that the narrator favors desire. Frost believes that the world will eventually be destroyed by destructive and negative human traits: desire, greed, and jealousy. Yet in Frost’s mind, these traits are still preferable to hate. This opinion is demonstrated by the narrator’s choice of fire. Frost prefers the heat of passion and fire to the coldness of hate and ice. “Fire and Ice” shows us that our path through life is shaped by the choices we make as people.
The poem “The Road Not Taken” describes the narrator coming to a fork in the road and having to decide which way to go. The narrator regrets that he or she can’t travel both ways and comes to the realization that a choice must be made. A decision is made to take the road less traveled because “it was grassy and wanted wear;” but observes that “the passing there / Had worn them really about the same,” (“Road” 8-10). In reality, both ways were equally worn, but the narrator thought that one was less traveled. This suggests that the decision to take the grassy path was influenced entirely by the narrator’s inner qualities. Because the narrator wanted to preserve or develop these aspects of his or her life, they chose the path that they could relate to rather than follow everybody else. This decision further shaped the narrator’s path through life and will subsequently influence any future choices they make.
The poems “Fire and Ice” and “The Road Not Taken” seem similar, but both have aspects...