The Road Not Taken And Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening - Analysis

1455 Words6 Pages
Robert Lee Frost (born in San Francisco, March 26, 1874 and died in Boston, January 29, 1963) was one of America's leading 20th-century poets and a four-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Although his verse forms are traditional, he was a pioneer in the interplay of rhythm and meter and in the poetic use of the vocabulary and inflections of everyday speech. His poetry is thus both traditional and experimental.

After Frost’s father died in 1885, the family left California and settled in Massachusetts. From 1897 to 1899 he attended Harvard College as a special student, but left without a degree. Over the next ten years he wrote (but rarely published) poems, operated a farm in Derry, New Hampshire (purchased for him by his grandfather), and supplemented his income by teaching.

In 1912 he sold the farm and used the proceeds to take his family to England, where he could devote himself entirely to writing. His efforts to establish himself and his work were almost immediately successful. A Boy's Will was accepted by a London publisher and brought out in 1913, followed a year later by North of Boston. In 1924 he received a Pulitzer Prize in poetry for New Hampshire (1923). He received it again for Collected Poems (1930), A Further Range (1936), and A Witness Tree (1942). Over the years he received an unprecedented number and range of literary, academic, and public honors. 1

The Road Not Taken
Although I must admit that I am not a poetry fan, many of the poems of Robert Frost appeal to me, and this would have to be the one that appeals the most, in other words, it is my favorite poem. When I first read this poem, I liked it because of its free verse style (which I like) and its apparent simplicity, but, after much study, its true meaning became apparent. The obvious basic meaning is that the poem is about a person’s choices in life. The narrator describes coming to a problem with the fork in the road. He must go down one but feels he will not be able to take back his decision. He looks to see the pros and cons of each choice, and then takes the one that he says the least had traveled. He leaves the outcome up to the reader and the sigh at the end can be taken as good or bad. This leaves the reader the choice of deciding whether it is better to conform with society or rebel like Frost did and take up a less stable trade.

However, there are many places to which...

... middle of paper ...

..., he is far away from the city, and the city is like a synonym for life – and one of the opposites of life is death. Another closely related example of symbolism is “Between the woods and the frozen lake”. The woods are now a symbol of life – a change from the previous example – and the frozen lake, devoid of life, is a symbol of death. The final example of symbolism is an obvious one in which death is compared to sleep.

Frost’s “difference” (The Road not Taken ln20) was always in him. This can be seen long before he starts his actual writing career. While he learned to read at a very late age of 14, he had already sold a poem at the age of 15. The road that Frost took was not only the “different” road and the right road for him, but also the only road that he could possibly have taken. The Road Not Taken and the often-studied Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening “exemplify Frost's ability to join the pastoral and philosophical modes in lyrics of unforgettable beauty”1. Frost's poetic and political conservatism caused him to lose favor with some literary critics, but his reputation as a major poet is secure. He unquestionably succeeded in realizing his life's ambition: to write.
Open Document