Edward Thomas The Road Not Taken

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Robert Frost, born on March 26, 1874 in San Francisco, wrote “The Road Not Taken” for the poet Edward Thomas. Frost became interested in reading and writing poetry during his high school years and although he enrolled at Dartmouth College in 1892 and later at Harvard University, he never earned a formal college degree. When Frost and Thomas walked together, Thomas was always indecisive about which road they should take and often complained that they should have taken the other path. Inspired by his friend’s mindset, he wrote “The Road Not Taken” to reflect Thomas’ coherent thinking. As his lyric poem unfolds, Frost creates a profusion of meanings, never quite allowing one to supplant others even as the poem describes how choice is inevitable. …show more content…

Frost ties various aspects of roads with decisions, along with the factors and outcomes of it. Each road is symbolic for a possibility, meaning that the road diverging is emblematic for a choice. The usage of this extended metaphor provides a visual for the reader to imagine this intangible concept and expands on the stages and complexity of decision making, such as associating the descriptions of the road with the future. Both paths are “just as fair” as the other, but, much like options, there are subtle differences between them such as one being “grassy and wanted wear.” As the traveler feels sorrow for not being able to go down both paths, he “looked down one as far as I [the traveler] could” only to realize the limitations of his vision. The paths, like choices were not clear to him but nonetheless he had to make one, displaying the inevitability of choices. Suddenly the traveler made a choice and “took the other [path],” a metaphor for an impulsive decision. Instead of carefully examining both of his options, the speaker went for the one he believed to be less frequently used without knowing why he had chosen it, just understanding that he thought he would be just as happy with either choices. This leads into regret, shown when the traveler knows that “way leads on to way” and realizes that he doubted he will “ever come back.” Having no contentment, the traveler is aware some decisions are difficult, if not impossible, to alter. The poet incorporates this feeling of nostalgia to allow readers to reminisce at past choices that they would have rather not made. It is through this feeling that Frost amplifies the power of his belief about choices. Finally, the title, “The Road Not Taken,” is a metaphor for missed opportunities. Though the road he took might have been extraordinary, the road not taken might have possessed better qualities, and the traveler lives his life with that thought

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