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The Road Not Taken: Depiction of Three Ages                


In his Explicator article, “Frost’s ‘The Road Not Taken,’” William George suggests that the poem includes “three distinct ages” of the narrator and focuses on the choices that this person must make at the different stages of his life (230).  George differentiates the primary speaker of the poem, what he calls the “middle-aged self,” from the younger and older versions, noting that the middle-aged version mocks the other two by taking a more objective stance towards his decision.  The younger and older versions “are given to emotion, self-deception, and self-congratulation, and both face a decision which the middle-aged speaker sees with more objective eyes than do his younger and older selves” (230).  George demonstrates that, while the middle-aged self is able to view his other selves objectively without delusion and self-aggrandizement, the younger and older selves are incapable of this kind of objectivity in their decision-making.

 George’s analysis is broken into two parts;  the first part is an analysis of the relationship between the middle-aged self and the younger self, while the second part is an analysis of the relationship between the middle-aged self and the older self.  In the first part of the article, George suggests that the younger self is faced with choosing between two roads, paths that the middle-aged self understands are very similar; the younger self, however, refuses to accept their equal value and instead deludes himself with the idea of having chosen a less traveled path (230-31).  In the second part of the article, George describes how the older self is faced with choosing between telling the truth about his decision as a youth or lying about it;  while the middle-aged self fully recognizes that the choice of the past was not grand, the older self chooses to cover over this truth through deception and self-aggrandizement (231). 

While George’s analysis of Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” accurately captures the existence of three ages of the persona within the poem, the article includes several contradictions in the analysis regarding the time frame existing in the poem. [Note that this is only the thesis for the response;  you would need to add 2-3 paragraphs of support.]

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