GOOD vs. BAD
Why doesn’t life let us explore the world? Do we have to follow the same path as the majority? The world is actually not that of a bad place to live in. If the world isn’t that bad of a place, than why are we are restricted in going places. I am not talking about places that are private property; instead I am talking about places that we are not going because we are plainly scared, the reason is fear. As someone once said, “We fear the thing we most want.” I wonder if this is any true; are we really scared of things we want or are the things we want that horrible that we don’t want them? Well, these types of questions are portrayed in three poems. The first two poems are by Gwendolyn Brooks, they are “A Song in the Front yard” and “The Bean Eater,” and the other one is Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.”
“A Song in the Front Yard” starts off with someone who wants to see what the “back yard” is like. I believe the narrator is a girl has been a “good” person, but now she wants to go to the “back yard” and experience the rough side of life. From the first and second line, “I’ve stayed in the front yard all my life. I want a peek at the back…” I perceive the “front yard” as being a place where the good people should be, it’s where everyone is nice and polite to each other, it is the “good” area. On the other hand, I see the “back yard” as an opposite of the “front yard.” It’s a place where everyone is a bit rougher on the edges, and more rebellious type than the people in the “front yard.” The “back yard” would be the “bad” area. The “front yard” has roses growing in it, where as the “back yard” would have weeds growing. I know most of us would rather have roses growing than weeds. The girl feels she is stuck in the “front yard,” and that there is nothing to do in it for fun. For example, if the girl wanted to play in the dirt or the rain, but she can’t because she is trapped in the “front yard.” However, if she were in the “back yard” she would be able to do all those things and more. The girl would rather be stuck in the “back yard” than the “front yard,” because at least there she would be able to have some fun. From the eighth line, “I want a good time today,” the girl is trying to say that she wants to go to the “back yard” and have an enjoyable time because she is getting bored and irritated by staying in the “front yard” all the time. For instance, everyone is having fun by going to the lake but she can’t go because only the “bad” people, the people in the “back yard,” can only go. The girl feels frustrated and cornered by staying in the “front yard” and being a “good” person.
In addition, the ninth and twelfth line states, “They do some wonderful things” and “How they don’t have to go in at quarter to nine,” explains that the girl is bothered by the other children getting to stay later than her. She feels alone and angry because the others are out in the “back yard” and she isn’t. Moreover, when she does out to play in the “front yard,” she has a curfew and has to come home early, whereas the children in “back yard” don’t have to go home as early as she does and are in the “back yard.” I think she wants to have something related with the children in the “back yard,” or even be like them, and I believe this is another reason for her to go back there. The mother tries to tell the girl that the children in the “back yard” will grow up and become bad people or even end up in jail. Nevertheless, the girl doesn’t care because she is so in need to have something similar to the other children that she wants to take that risk. She doesn’t even mind if she grows up and becomes a bad person or even does go to jail, but as long as she gets to go the “back yard” and have some fun. The girl is willing to give up anything and become anything, but only if she gets to go to the “back yard”.
I think most of us can relate to what the girl is going through. I know that at some point in our lives we have went through what she is going through in the poem, “A Song in the Front Yard.” Therefore, does this mean that everyone who does go out in the “back yard” turns out bad, or is this just an assumption that we all make. I know there are times that we do think of going to the “back yard”, it could be because we want something different, a change, or maybe we want to go there just check it out. But, if we do go there for a look, does that turn us into a bad person, I think not. Mostly everyone of us has their own “back yard” that they want to go to or have gone too, and most us who have been there and came back are still good people. We haven’t turn out “bad” by going just visiting the “back yard.” I think everyone should get the most of out of life cause its short and you never know what you are going to miss by not taking that one chance. The point I am trying to make is that this poem shows us going to the “back yard” makes a person turn out “bad”, however, this can’t be true because the people who have been there and have come back are still “good” people. Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem, “The Bean Eaters” shows us that when someone does go to the “back yard” and does not come back, what happens.
“The Bean Eaters” is a poem that is a little different from the other Gwendolyn Brooks poem, “A Song in the Front Yard.” “The Bean Eaters” is about an old couple that is living their daily, and usual lives. The first line from the poem, “They eat beans mostly, this old yellow pair,” tells us that this poem is about an old couple who are living a monotonous life. Their life is showed by the kind of food they eat, which is mostly beans. Also by the kind of utensils they use when eating dinner. From the second line, “Dinner is a casual affair,” we can assume that their dinner is simple and just dull. The couple mostly eats beans and uses plain tableware such as “tin flatware” when eating dinner. I see them as an old couple trying to just live their lives by getting up each morning and just taking it slow day by day. I think the tenth line, “Remembering, with twinklings, and twinges,” takes us back to the pain the couple had suffered in the past. That pain reminds them of many other things such as beads, receipts, dolls, clothes, tobacco crumbs, vases and fringes. Therefore, I believe the cause of their pain and the person these items belong to is the couple’s missing child.
In this poem, I think the couple had a child who ran away from home because he wanted to live his life a little more roughly. I am assuming the couple’s child was a guy and not a girl is because of the things they remembered, such as dolls meaning action figures (i.e., GI-Joe dolls) and also tobacco crumbs. I imagine the child ran away from the “front yard,” the “good” area, which is the couple’s home, when it was young to the “bad” area, that being the “back yard.” They are living their lives in expectation that their son will one day leave that “back yard” and return home, to the “front yard.” Throughout the years, the couple has become old and tired in the wait for their child to come back home. In spite of this, the couple still keeps living their life in hopes that their son will one day come back to the “front yard.”
Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” takes a different approach to the same kind of idea as the Gwendolyn Brooks’ poems. The poem starts off with the first line stating, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,” meaning there are two roads that are splitting apart and then going their different ways, or maybe even opposite ways. I think the two roads represent the two roads of life, one being the “good” road and the other being the “bad” one. Everyone likes to travel on the “good” road because it takes to your destination without or little hassles. The “good” road is the one that gets more worn out than the other one. Where as, the “bad” road gets very little used up because no one likes to travel on that road as much as the other one. As line 2 explains, the “bad” road
“… was grassy and wanted wear,” tells us that since very few take this path, that even the grass has started to grow back on it, on the other hand, I am sure the “good” has very little or no grass growing on it.
The bad road is the road that is “… less traveled by.” It is the one people don’t like to take because they are scared of it. They fear in taking the “bad” road because they are frightened where the “bad” road will lead them, and what kind of problems they have to face if they do take that road. In addition, they feel they are doing something wrong by taking the road that is “less traveled by.” Where as, they know the “good” road is the more popular road and it will lead them to a safe place with very little problems. They are worried because they don’t know how the “bad” road will come out to be. However, then again, I think people do want to take the “bad” road at least once in life but won’t because of the risk and the challenges they might confront. In addition, they want to be different and not the same as everyone else.
I also had a point in my life where I wanted to take the “bad” road for once. It was when I first got my driver’s license at the age of 17; I always wanted to drive to NYC (New York City) just for fun. I wanted to experience it for myself the feeling of driving to the city. Therefore, one morning I woke up and made up my mind of driving to the city today. So, I did. While I was driving I was extremely scared and sweating like a pig, and kept thinking of going back, but I was so determined of going that I didn’t think of going back again. I did go to NYC, and sure I got lost and confused many times, but it was ok because when I did come back home I felt proud and happy of driving to NYC. I know it’s not that big of an accomplishment that you can be really proud of, but for me it was probably the first big risk I ever took and I made it through successfully. “And that has made all the difference” (12th line), is truly something that I can say because it has made a difference to me, maybe not a major one, but a difference. Therefore, I think sometimes taking the “bad” road does make a difference because it is the road that is not often taken.
The connection between Frost’s poem and Brooks poems is that all three poems are talking about the “good” and “bad” roads of life. In Brooks’ poems the “good” road is the “front yard” and the “bad” road is represented by the “back yard,” where as in Frost’s poem they are two roads that were “diverged” but one is less taken. The road less taken is the “bad” road, which is this case is the “back yard,” and the road that is taken often is the “front yard.” I don’t see any harm in taking the “bad” road or going to the “back yard” for once; because I think the only way a person can live life to the fullest is by taking that risk. If you just stay in the “front yard” or take the road that is often taken then I don’t think you will be able to explore all the things life has to offer you. Therefore, I believe everyone should challenge him or herself by taking the “back yard” or the road not taken at least once.