Journeys- A Righteous Day and A Road Not Taken

May 14, 2018 Communication

Journeys are a multi-faceted concept which can result in both positive and negative outcomes. “A Righteous Day” (1988) by Mudrooroo and “A Road Not Taken” (1916), both explore an inner journey as an implication of a physical journey. Composers of both poems have effectively articulated this inner self-realisation through a variety of language devices.

Mudrooroo’s “A Righteous Day” encompasses a positive outcome of confidence as a result of a negative experience and their inner journey due to white settlement, particularly on such day as 26th January 1988 (Bicentenary of European Settlement).

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First person narration has been utilised, as seen in “I shall let my fist be clenched in songs;” to allow the reader to empathise with the composer and understand the journey first hand from the persona. Anaphora is repetitively seen in “Today, I shall…” to emphasise the author’s seriousness and determination as an implication of the journey of multiple generation of Aboriginal’s experienced due to the arrival of the first fleet.

An oxymoron has been utilised in “keep my violence passive in anger”, this portrays to the reader of the confused mind and phases of the journey. The utilisation of the juxtaposition in “with the leaders who walk on slits and stumble” compares the politicians to clowns, which goes to emphasise the composer’s emotions of the political powers as a mockery. As the poem progresses there is a steady building of pace which is metaphorical to the building of determination and strength.

“The red and black along the golden path” alludes to the Aboriginal flag, further symbolising the journey of the people. In the final stanza, “for today, this is our day and don’t forget it!” illustrates the use of parallelism which adds rhythm and flow to the poem, while simultaneously repeating on the “today” and “our” to demonstrate the positive determination and outcome of this inner journey.

Similarly, Frosts “Road Not Taken” corroborates an inner journey as a repercussion of a physical journey. The poem accentuates the importance of life decisions and the effects they may hold. An extended metaphor has been utilised in “two roads diverge in a yellow wood” portraying a road as decisions and choices that are faced in life and must be made, which further entails to the journeys by offered of the different roads.

The “yellow wood” is symbolic for autumn, which thus represents change and difference of the two roads. Repetition is utilised in the first stanza of “and” at the beginning of the lines to communication to the reader of the contemplation and hesitation the composer is encountering in his inner journey. Correspondingly the poem has been written in first person narration as seen “sorry I could not travel both”, which allows the reader to experience regret as part of the inner journey. In the last stanza of the text, the tense shifts to future tense, “I shall be telling this with a sigh”, indicating the reflection of his decision which transforms into a positive outcome of contentment.

“A Righteous Day” and “The Road Not Taken” both explore the author’s inner journey with the utilisation of various language techniques. “A Road Not Taken” encompasses the choices one has to make when faced with indecision, while “A Righteous Day” portrays the self-confidence and determination that can result from generations of violence. Together, the use of language techniques and structure highlight the negative and positive outcomes of the journey.


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