Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

I cannot help thinking about this poem over and over again. In fact, I've been using two lines of it as my status in more than one social media. What I love about it, as what I love about most Frost's poems, is that the poems are written in most simple words, but have deep meaning. For me personally, the poem tells you everything that passes your mind when you're about to take an important decision that might change your whole life. And here it goes:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same, 
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back. 
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Isn't it just so sweet? Frost beautifully expressed the gravity and seriousness of decision-making in something as simple as choosing someone's way. I've never formally analysed a poem before, and I don't even know the right way to do it. But I'd like to tell you how the poem sounds to me.

Firstly the poem found himself in a branching road – a road of his life. He knew he couldn't 'travel both,' but he considered seriously which road he's going to take. Aren't we all like that, especially when facing an important decision in our lives? At last he made his decision, but his choice was not something that people would ordinarily choose. He chose a road 'grassy and wanted wear.'

One of the lines I love most in this poem: “Oh, I kept the first for another day!/Yet knowing how way leads on to way/I doubted if I should ever come back.” I do that all the time, thinking that one day I will do something I chose to postpone ages ago. But in reality, we all know that time doesn't go in a circle. It goes on, and because our decision leads us to another, we can't just go back and try another option.

Some people think that the poem's sigh in the last stanza expresses his regret of the choice he had made long time ago. For me, it's like when you are lying on your back and thinking about the past, taking a deep breath. And then you smile because long time ago, you chose the road 'less travelled by,' and that's why your life, your journey, your story, is different. I must be a sigh of satisfaction.

(And now it reminds me of the song My Way)

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The Godfather: Family, Friends and Feuds

I started reading this book last week after a recommendation from a friend. At first, I was reluctant. But then I was offered to watch the film. I insisted (as usual) that I have to read the book before watching it on screen, so I started to read it as soon as I laid my hands on it.

Michael Corleone had no interest whatsoever to be in his father's business. His father had been one of the most respected Dons in the country. People called him “Godfather” in respectful tone, because it is what he was to them – their advisor and saviour. No problem is too big for the Don to solve. Yet he was not a saint at all. Don Vito Corleone led a huge mafia network, accompanied by his eldest son Sonny, and his adopted son and consigliore, Tom Hagen. But Michael wanted nothing to do with his father's business – that was before his father was shot.

A business problem led to his father's assassination attempts. The wilder part of Michael got the best of him, and before he knew it he had sunk deep in the business and was forced to fly to Italy. There he heard news that his eldest brother had been murdered and his second eldest brother was useless. He himself had barely escaped the fire. His car was bombed, killing his pregnant wife inside. Infuriated, he vowed to be “his father's son.”

The Godfather is one of the best (if not is the best) of mafia novels. It's story is almost legendary. Part of the credit goes to the trilogy films staring Al Pacino as Michael (yes, when he was young). The novel is very strong in its characterization and plot twist, whilst still sticking firmly to the main story. The people involved have their own stories, while their lives also partly unveil the vastness of the Don's business.

What I also like from the book is that it's so unpredictable. Puzo has no problem killing anyone in the way, even characters that we think deserve to live longer in the book. For those who love crime fictions, or any complicated fictions, or just looking for a modern classic, then The Godfather is a must-read for you. 

Sunday, 8 September 2013

The Hobbit: Fun Version of LotR

I don't know why it took me so long to eventually decide to read the book. It has a good reputation of being a classic, and its praises, along with its companion Lord of the Rings' praises are sung everywhere. But at last I took it and read ot cover to cover, and because we're talking about Tolkien's book, I finished it in one night.

Bilbo Baggins was a boring person, I should say with my judgement as a human being. As most hobbits he was content with his daily routine of waking up, cooking, eating, and whatever a normal hobbit in his hole usually did. But then came Gandalf with adventure in his mind. The other part of Bilbo gave in to the tickle of adventure and off he went with his 13 dwarf companions, whom he had never seen his whole life before last night.

The quest sounded simple yet dangerous all the same. They were to take back what rightfully belong to the dwarf chieftain, Thorin Oakenshield, namely a treasure beyond any imagination locked in Erebor and guided and claimed by a huge and mighty dragon, Smaug. To get there, they had to pass the Misty Montain and Mirkwood (for my interest, I would like to add that it's Legolas' homeland), they also had to find a secret entrance, not mentioning probable goblin and warg's raid along the way and also possible clash with the natives of Mirkwood (not only the elves, but the animals as well).

Anyway, Bilbo had signed his contract and off he went, without having the complete picture of the dangers mentioned above. Luckily, he found a magic ring early on his way, which could hide the wearer from sight. This ring proved to be so valuable (or should I say precious) for their journey. It didn't serve as useful in the other story, though. Haha.

Unlike Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit is much more relaxed and fun. While Lord of the Rings is more like Illiad and Odyssey, this prequel book is more like Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham kind of story in its fun, informal adventures. The characters are merry and jolly, exactly the opposite of all the grimness of Elrond, Aragorn, and Eomer in LotR.

Other thing to say, I don't really like dwarves after all. (I'm more an elvish person, you know.) Thorin's obstinacy is not really charming, and the dwarves are somewhat selfish at times. Of course it doesn't mean that elves are all saintly. It's quite shocking to see the striking difference between Thranduil and his son Legolas, who later became the best friend of a dwarf. Quite ironic, since it was Legolas' father who imprisoned Gimli's father along with his fellow dwarves in Mirkwood. But I guess people must learn to forget the past.

I'm a little bit surprised to see myself easily fall into so strong a liking to Bard the Bowman, who amazingly slain the dragon with one arrow. He didn't appear until very late in the story and it's just that. Maybe I love him so much because I know that Luke Evans would be playing him in the upcoming movie, and just imagining him bending his bow side by side with Legolas takes my breath away. Or maybe I'm just weak when it comes to bowmen. The number of bowmen in my catalogue of awesome people is considerable after all.

Well, I guess I can't wait for the other two films that will come soon enough. Well, at least the second film is only 3 months away. Let's see if it satisfies all our expectations.