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The Road Not Taken:  Use of Literary Devices


"The Road Not Taken", written by Robert Frost, is a poem that has four
five-line stanzas with only two end rhymes in each stanza (abaab). Several kinds of
literary devices can be found in the poem. One of the literary devices employed is antithesis.

The first stanza of the poem describes a traveler who comes to a fork in a road through
a "yellow wood" and wishes he could "travel both" routes, but at the same time he
realizes that the thought of traveling both roads is impractical and therefore rejects
it. In the second stanza, the traveler says the other road has "perhaps the better
claim/because it was grassy and wanted wear," implying that this road is "less
traveled by." And then he contradicts his own judgment by saying that "Though as
for that the passing there/had worn them really about the same." In the third stanza,
he comes up with the idea of saving the first, (perhaps) more traveled route for
another day, but then he sees that he's most likely not going to return, and
therefore, probably will never have the chance to travel the more traveled route in
the future. The line "Because it was grassy and wanted wear, in the third stanza is
an example of personification because the poet says that the road "wanted wear"
while we all know that a road can not think and would not have any desire at all.

The poet has also used imagery as a literary device: "Two roads diverged in a
yellow wood" (from the first stanza), and "And both that morning equally lay/in
leaves no step had trodden black" (from the third stanza) to create a picture in the
reader's mind.

The literal meaning of the poem is that a traveler who came to a fork in a road in a
yellow wood and couldn't decide on which road to take but finally chose to take the
one that seemed less traveled by. The figurative theme of the poem is the crucial
nature of the choices people must make on the road of life. The story took place in
a yellow wood in the morning time. The tone of the poem is gloomy because the
traveler laments the possibilities that the necessity of making a choice leaves
unfulfilled, as we can see from the words used in the poem such as "sorry" and
"sigh."

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