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Please give an analysis of the poem THE WAYFARER.

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jessie0104 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 3, 2010 at 10:29 PM via web

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Please give an analysis of the poem THE WAYFARER.

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lynnebh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted February 4, 2010 at 1:51 AM (Answer #1)

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The Wayfarer by Stephen Crane is a poem about the quest for truth.

The wayfarer,
Perceiving the pathway to truth,
Was struck with astonishment.
It was thickly grown with weeds.
"Ha," he said,
"I see that none has passed here
In a long time."
Later he saw that each weed
Was a singular knife.
"Well," he mumbled at last,
"Doubtless there are other roads."

The pathway is a metaphor for this search. The speaker  sees that the path is thick with weeds, symbolizing that truth is often difficult to discern because it is clouded with "weeds." Also, each weed is a "singular knife" meaning each weed is some obstacle to the truth - perhaps deceit, perhaps self-serving motivies, perhaps white-lies, perhaps lies by government, corrupt leaders, etc. (I'm extrapolating here).

The speaker also acknowledges that not too many are interested in seeking the truth, because there is evidence that the path has not been traveled much.

The poem ends on a pessimistic note because the speaker, too, decides that the path to truth is too treacherous with all those weeds, and he, too, decides to look for other roads.

See the links for further help.

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