Journey In Mary Oliver's Poem 'The Journey'

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Mary Oliver’s poem, “The Journey”, is a narrative on the many obstacles one must overcome in order to forge their own path. The way the poem is written makes the reader the subject of the poem because everyone must overcome an obstacle of some form in their life. “The Journey” illustrates the very real struggles everyone must go through to discover something in their life, whether it is their own destiny or their self-worth. Oliver’s poem states that the journey of life is difficult, but she knows that everyone must go through it. Although not stated within the lines of the poem, Oliver hints that the journey of life is a person’s own journey to discover themselves.
The first stanza of Oliver’s poem begins with a realization the reader comes
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Oliver begins this stanza by writing “little by little…you left their voices behind”, showing the reader’s transformation from someone who relied on the voices of others to someone who now relies on themselves. In the later lines she writes, “there was a new voice, / which you slowly / recognized as your own”, showing that the reader finally discovered their own voice throughout their journey. With the reader finding their own voice, they can now rely on themselves and have no need for the voices and other impediments that appeared in the first two stanzas. The new voice “kept [the reader] company” during the journey, showing that their own voice will always be there to support them, making them more independent. The reader’s newly found voice also keeps them company as they continue “deeper and deeper / into the world”. At this point in the poem, the reader has pushed past all of the obstacles and voices and finally realizes that they are worth more than others have made them think they were. Now that the reader has finally found themselves, they can “save / the only life you could save” ---their own, finally reaching the conclusion that their mission has been accomplished. Oliver’s conclusion of the poem signifies all of the actions one must take on their own personal journey, masterfully illustrating the obstacles and the final triumph the reader experiences throughout its

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