Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Story of My Paper

While in the process of finding a text for writing our final paper, I searched for one where I could present a good claim.  I generally looked at material that was new to me. 

 It helped so much when I posted “Coming Up With a CompellingThesis” using the guide from Dr. Burton. After coming up with nothing much except anxiety, I took his suggestion and looked to my posts for a familiar text.  That is when I decided to write about Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” because I enjoy his style of poetry.  I had done my reflective post on his poem, “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” and concluded I could come up with a stronger argument with “ The Road Not Taken.”

The Road To My Paper

I posted my five different types of claims and asked for feedback from the class, family members and neighbors, who graciously responded.  It generated some good social interaction with comments from Kimara, Charly, and Dr. Burton who challenged me to come up with a different analysis perspective of the poem.  Family members and a neighbor gave me some great comments through emails.  I displayed the comments in my “On The Road to a Thesis Paper” post, and thanked them for their helpful comments.  I let them know I would combine my evaluation claim and the cause/effect claim to come up with a stronger claim. 

 In Identifying Dimensions of the Road I asked specific questions as to why Frost intentionally left out information on his poem.   Jocelyn, Danielle, family and neighbors answered with some helpful suggestions.  In class, Charly suggested I look to see if other transcendentalist poets used ambiguity.  I did look and found that Frost had actually taken a suggestion from Emerson that helped his writing of this poem.   Thanks, Charly.

Working to show why my thesis matters to me, I blogged So Why Do I Care?” an analysis on why I should even care to analyze the Frost poem.  This posed a good question that helped my paper writing process.

 When I posted A Leading Path of Quotations it became clear to me how Frost’s poem read similar to a fiction story, starting with a plot that develops through suspense using a protagonist.  I noticed the foreshadowing and exposition and then the resolution.  I even picked up on a climax, resolution and denouement.  I could see how literature works because of foundational elements.

I did some searching in the BYU Library’s website and posted my analysis.  The research helped me identify the different influences such as the Romantic poets like Wordsworth, Keats, and Emily Dickenson. I blogged about Frost’s Style of Poetry.”  Transcendentalist, Emerson supplied information that Frost used to construct “The Road Not Taken." 

Since then, my paper has been in class and even in church in my Sunday School class.  An analysis of the “Road Not Taken” has generated a great deal of social interaction.  Some people shared suggestions, which I have taken into consideration. 

Spending so much time analyzing the poem, I decided to memorize "The Road Not Taken" as one of my learning outcomes.  Now, I have the poem in my head for future reference.

When we took our rough drafts to class, it was suggested I make my paper more personal and less academic. I had to decide what advice would strengthen my paper since some  suggestions were contradictory.  Deciding whether to write it in first person as some people suggested or to keep the paper more academic has had me trying both ways.  I ended up with a blend that felt comfortable to me.  I appreciated Dr. Burton reading my paper to let me know if I was on the right “road.” I asked another neighbor, a high school English teacher,  to read my paper and she offered better ways to use literary terms, such as persona and allegorical.  I believe this helped my paper's credibility.  She wasn't sure about the MLA citations.  

I called the BYU Library to ask how to cite Noah Webster's 1844 American Dictionary, which I found in the Emily Dickinson Lexicon.  The person I talked to did not know, but she gave me the phone number of Cynthia Hallen, who maintains the Emily Dicinson Lexicon website for BYU.  She said it was difficult to cite and she sent it to me exactly as she said it should be cited in MLA format.  So, I did it just as she said.  She was very pleasant to talk to, and I thought it appropriate she should maintain the cite.

Everyone’s suggestions have been most helpful and I thank you all. I pondered on a title and tried out several, but ultimately chose the title my husband came up with.   I hope you enjoy reading the final paper.  


  1. Wow, Dawn I am amazed you are not an English major! You have a unique and strong writing style. I enjoyed reading this! It is evident by your paper that you researched, pondered, considered, and analysed this poem thoroughly. You brought out many great points.

    I had only seen this poem the way that most people interpret it. Not until you posted your thesis ideas did I ever consider it in another light. Looking at it closer I realized all the contradictions. I am glad you chose this for your paper. It has been very eye opening! Thank you!

    1. I am so happy we were in this class together! It has been a pleasure to get to know you. Best to you with everything! You are a wonderful example of endurance and perseverance!!

  2. Thank you Kimara. The writing style you see has probably come about from writing papers in SFL and physch classes. A little different than for this class. Especially writing informally for blogs. I felt liberated writing some of them. Hope to see you again. Thank you for everything!!