Can you summarise the poem The Way by Edwin Muir?

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literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Edwin Muir's poem "The Way" is written to shoe two distinctly different speakers. That being said, one can justify many different couplings of speakers: two distinctly different speakers, one speaker and their inner voice, or one speaker and a higher power (god/ God). Given that Muir was an Orcadian poet (coming from the Orkney Islands off the tip of Northern England), he was surely influenced by the mysticism and folklore of the isles. Therefore, one could justify that a god (or spirit) was leading him on his journey in the poem "The Way."

Overall, the poem speaks to the fact that the speaker has lost his way. A voice calls out to him telling him that the path still goes on, regardless of being lost. Wanting to head back, the speaker is told that the path back has been erased and the only way to find them self is to continue on. Frustrated at the circumstance, the speaker states that he (assumptive based upon the gender of the poet, male) will simply give up and remain where he is at. the voice calls again; restating the fact tat the path has not ended. Again the speaker states that he wishes to stop. The voice calls out, yet again, saying that the path is there to be taken, the journey to where he has come to is finished, but the journey on has yet to be completed.

The meaning of the poem is direct. A person cannot simply give up when they become confused or tired of the path they are on. They must, instead, push forward and not turn back. Turing back is not an option. The only way to find ones self is to push through, travel on, and make a new path on the one in front of them.

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