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“The Road of the Dread” is the most interesting of the Lorna Goodison poems in the collection for class.  It is written in the phonetic Jamaican dialect, which made it a fun challenge to read.  Like everyone else who has posted so far, I had to read through it a few times to make sure I understood the dialect.

The title intrigues me.  By adding “the” before “Dread,” Goodison makes it seem like “Dread” is a tangible thing, almost a character.  Titling it “The Road of the Dread,” makes this feeling of reluctance to travel the road seem to carry more weight than if she were to have called it “The Road of Dread.”  Adding the extra “the” into the title also gives it a similar rhythm to the poem’s dialect.  I think Goodison intends the poem to be a metaphor for life and the human experience.

This road seems to carry a lot of importance for the narrator.  It is described as an unfriendly route: “it no have no definite color/and it fence two side with live barbwire.”  There are no mileposts, and something a passerby might initially think is a rock turns out to be a snake.  Despite the unattractive aspects of the road, there are glimmers of beauty.  The narrator talks about a “breeze like a laugh” that follows her, and the pleasures of finding another person on the road to share resources with.  She also speaks of catching a glimpse of the end of the road – a sight that makes the trials of the road worth weathering.

The barbed wire fence, snakes masquerading as rocks, and lack of reference points for how far a traveler has gone represent the trials of life.  The laughing breeze and experience of making bread with a stranger are examples of the moments of connection and happiness everyone experiences.  The “glimpse of the end” is the moment where you see the results of something you’ve struggled with for a long time.

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