Poetry Comparison: Choices

Two other great poems for comparison and exploration are “The Rose That Grew From Concrete” by Tupac and “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. I like doing this one after we have compared “The Rose That Grew” to “Identity” because it is a little more challenging, but they are already very familiar with one of the poems. Both deal with similar themes of decision making and taking the “less traveled” path. However, the differences are profound: Tupac’s rose did not choose where it was planted whereas Frost’s character does get to choose his path in life. However, both do choose their attitude. Teens will be draw to one or the other depending on their own life experiences (I’ve found). I love comparing these two because they are very different styles, but students always manage to find some similarities, especially with theme.

“The Rose That Grew From Concrete” by Tupacrose

Did you hear about the rose that grew
from a crack in the concrete?
Proving nature’s law is wrong it
learned to walk with out having feet.
Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams,
it learned to breathe fresh air.
Long live the rose that grew from concrete
when no one else ever cared.

“The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
EXPANSION IDEA: Have the students pick the poem of the two they are more drawn to and try to create their own poem mimicking the style of Tupac or Frost. Another fun idea would be to have the students rewrite Frost’s poem mimicking Tupac’s style and/or Tupac’s poem mimicking Frost’s style.

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