Teddy Bear – Personal Response To The Road Not Taken By Robert Frost

Trigger warning.

My personal response is on child abuse. Child abuse is more than bruises and broken bones – while physical abuse might be the most visible, emotional abuse and neglect also leave deep, lasting scars. The earlier abused children get help, the greater chance they have to heal and break the cycle – rather than perpetuate it, or risk their own lives.

I would like to say that for this short story, I left out a lot of detailed information because I want the reader to interpret it on their own. Most of my favorite pieces of literature allowed me to intertwine it with my own views, that’s what I have tried to make with this piece. 

Prompt: What do these texts suggest to you about the impact significant events have on an individual’s ability to determine their own destiny?

At age one…

Jason’s lips glistened with the milk from his mother’s tender breasts. His shallow breath and rosy cheeks developed from the raw intensity of hunger.  His shining eyes glimmered with rays of hope. His tiny fists clenched strands of comfort, strands of his mother’s soft hair. Within his entangled limbs rested a teddy bear – it’s coat of fur was like no other, this teddy radiated warmth and comfort.

At age three…

The little boy is getting ready for preschool – he clutches his backpack straps as it brings back the memories of his mother’s soft hair, his strands of comfort. He reassuringly looks back into his bag for his teddy, it smiles at him. He smiles back.

Too young was he to notice how his mother held him closer whenever his father was near, too young was he to understand why his mother was embroidered with purple patchworks on her skin, too young was he to comprehend why his father wore the smell of cigarette smoke and nauseating booze like a jacket. Far too young was he to grasp why his father touched him with sickening intentions when his mother wasn’t near – “love” he thought, “it must be out of love”.

At age five…

The little boy is sitting in his room with his teddy beside him pondering over a word he cannot pronounce. Now, the boy is as equally embroidered with purple patchworks as his mother, he is beginning to understand why his mother held him closer when his father was near, his little mind beginning to take in the jacket of booze and cigarette smoke his father wore. He is starting to realize that the rough hands that grasped him was not out of love – but lust. Dark and dangerous lust. 

“POLICE,” sobbed a familiar voice, “CALL THE POLICE.”

The little boy looks back down at his paper: P-o-l-i-c-e.

“Police!” He exclaims with content.

Realizing that the scream of agony was from his mother, he peeks his head into the hall. He see’s his gentle mother laying motionless. He doesn’t understand: “how come she’s so still?”

He realizes.

Tracing what looks like scattered cherry cough drops, his eyes focus onto his father. For the first time in his life, he has the intention to harm. He clenches his delicate little hands into fists, all thoughts of his mother’s soft hair is gone.

His strands of comfort wisps away along with his dead mother.

Then, the world is black. His eyes have been bound from light. Rough hands dig into his tiny arms, he feels true fear.

At age nine…

Four years have gone by. Four years of living hell, four years of utter fear. This boy is not little anymore, his mental and physical composure has been strained beyond reason.

And yet, he does not call for help.

Like his mother, he was terrified of his father. Every night, he would wrap himself in stolen blankets and pray to whatever God is out there that he wouldn’t come. When his father found him, the boy would lay there biting his own arm to muffle his screams, whilst clutching his old friend, his teddy.

The old spark of hope has diminished in his eyes.

At age fifteen…

He jumped.

A broken teddy bear clashing along the banks of a river.


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4 thoughts on “Teddy Bear – Personal Response To The Road Not Taken By Robert Frost

  1. Dear Judy,

    I have never really been given the pleasure to read any of your writing, so I am glad I was able to stumble upon this piece.

    The subject matter in this story was definitely heavy, however, I think you were able to handle this subject matter with grace and maturity, as well as a strong writing voice and style.

    I appreciate the recurring image of the teddy bear, almost as if it is a symbol of hope and as the story progresses that hope begins to disappear along with the teddy bear at the end of the story. I would suggest maybe incorporating the teddy into every single section, however, to make it even more impactful–have the boy make use of it at each stage in his life. Maybe even have the boy neglect it and toss it aside to reflect the way he most likely felt as a child.

    Imagery! Wow! Especially the comparison of blood drops (correct me if I’m wrong) to cherry cough drops. The image in itself shows just how innocent and young the child is when his mother is killed because it is something a child would think.

    I would also like to comment on the theme of silence that is prevalent throughout this piece, and how our own silence can be harmful. Look at the mother, for instance. Clearly, she was silent for many years; if she had spoken up and reached out to some sort of service or authority, she probably wouldn’t have been killed. The same thing goes for her son. If he had told someone about how awful his home life was, then it probably wouldn’t have gotten to the point where he felt the need to take his own life just to end his pain. Your story is a perfect example of the importance of reaching out in times of distress.

    You have such great potential as a writer, Judy! Keep up the great work!

    Jade 🙂

    1. Dear Jade,

      Thank you for taking time to read and comment on this, I greatly appreciate your kind words!! Also, thank you for your advice – the idea of incorporating the teddy bear into every section was a idea I had earlier on but I later dropped, now, with your suggestions I can see how this idea could’ve further improved this piece.

      Once again, thank you so much.


      Judy 🙂

  2. Dear Judy,

    This topic, though a sensitive one, is so important and a conversation must be started. I feel this piece is so beautiful and starts a muture and respectful conversation. In my experience, writers can often come off desensitized and dejected when writing about topics like abuse and suicide; whereas in your writing I felt empathy, pain, and love.

    The idea you developed about a boy and his teddy bear completly emphasized the innocence and fragility of the child. And though the former is stripped from him, your audience is able to see the slow deteriration. The use of imagery in this piece also sparked a personal connection because your reader is able to put themselves in the world you’ve created and truly get a sense of the horrific scene.

    As much as I appreciate the parrallels between each paragraph, I would have liked to see a bigger shift with the “jacket of booze and cigarette smoke” and the “strands of comfort, strands of his mother’s soft hair.” Maybe more of a twist in the end to break the familiar structure? Despite this, I truly appreciate this piece and the dialougue it could potentially start.

    I look forward to reading more of your work throughout this semester!


    1. Dear Harmehar,

      I am humbled that you took the time to read and comment on my piece!! Thank you for the great feedback, it truly means a lot. As for the grow – thank you for pointing this out, if you hadn’t, this idea probably wouldn’t have crossed my mind. 🙂

      Thank you so much.

      Yours truly,


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