Critical Analysis of Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken

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Critical Analysis of Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken

The speaker in Robert Frost's 'The Road Not Taken' gives the reader insight into human nature with each line of poetry. While, Frost had not originally intended for this to be an inspirational poem, line by line, the speaker is encouraging each reader to seek out his or her own personal path in the journey of life. Romanticizing the rural woods of New England creates the perfect setting for the theme of self-discovery laid out and described by the speaker.

Robert Frost's original intent in writing the poem was not to convey the inspiration that it has for almost a hundred years. He had written the poem to poke fun at his friend, Edward Thomas, with whom he had taken many walks. Thomas was hesitant and always wondering what would happen if he had chosen a different path ( In fact, Frost sent the poem to his friend, then in France, and got the response, ?What are you trying to do with me?? ( However, Frost did see the impact the poem was having and stated, 'Do not follow where the path may lead?Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.'

The speaker communicates many things in the first stanza of the poem. The first line, ?Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,? uses imagery with the color yellow, the color of gold, to show that the speaker sees an opportunity ahead of him. The two roads symbolizes the choices and consequences he must choose. The next line, ?And sorry I could not travel both,? illustrates how difficult it is to make a choice. It is impossible not to wonder what could happen by choosing the other road and what he could be missing out on. ?And being one traveler long I stood,? shows how the speaker would like to be in two places at once. Unable to accomplish this, he takes a long time to decide on what he should do. Finally, the speaker describes studying the first option, looking as far into the future as he possibly could with the lines, ?And looked down one as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth.?

The speaker continues to convey his message in the second stanza of ?The Road Not Taken.? In the opening line of this part of the poem, the speaker says, ?Then took the other, as just as fair.? Here, he is turning his attention to the second road...

... middle of paper ... the road he eventually chose made him the person he is. In being forced to choose and face the consequences, he was afraid to make a wrong decision. He is better off for having even made any decision at all instead of standing there, procrastinating. Although one person cannot take all the roads in life, trying to choose everything will leave that person just as empty as choosing the wrong path.

In finally choosing, he changes the direction of his life and encourages the reader to explore new territory or create something new. Above all, one has to be true to himself and follow his heart.

The speaker, throughout Robert Frost?s ?The Road Not Taken,? is a way of identifying with the reader through basic human feelings and struggles. Everyone faces hard decisions and feels the struggle within to choose the right path on which to base his or her life. It is how we choose and how we deal with what is down the road that makes us who we are.

Works Cited

Baym, Nina, et. al. The Norton Anthology of American Liturature. 5th edition. Vol.II. New York: Norton, 1998.

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