In his celebrated poem "The Road Not Taken," Robert Frost describes the decision one makes when reaching a fork in the road. Some interpret Frost as suggesting regret on the part of the traveler as to not choosing the path he forgoes, for in doing so he has lost something significant. Others believe he is grateful for the selection, as it has made him the man he is. The diverging roads are symbolic of the choices society is faced with every day of life. Choosing one course will lead the traveler in one direction, while the other will likely move away, toward a completely different journey. How does one know which is the right path; is there a right path? The answer lies within each individual upon reflection of personal choices during the course of life's unfolding, as well as the attitude in which one looks to the future.
David Wyatt writes, "Nowhere in Frost is the tension between surprise and anticipation, wayward experience and the form into which it is cast or forecast, more acute than in 'The Road Not Taken'" (129). As the poem is read, one cannot help but be pulled into the questions of which road will be chosen, how they differ, and what will become of the traveler. Perhaps some hope to find guidance for their own journeys by seeking answers in Frost's work. According to Michael Meyer, "The speaker's reflections about his choice are as central to an understanding of the poem as the choice itself." (97) Frost himself admits, "it's a tricky poem, very tricky." (Pack 10)
In the opening stanza, Frost describes coming to a point during a walk along a rural road that diverges into two separate, yet similar paths. The narrator finds that he ...
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.... Online. World Wide Web. 20 Jul. 2000. .
Frost, Robert. "The Road Not Taken." The Poetry of Robert Frost. Ed. Edward Connery, Lathem. New York: Hot, Rinehart and Winston, 1969. 105.
Mertins, Louis. Robert Frost: Life and Talks - Walking. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1965. 135.
Meyer, Michael, ed. The Bedford Introduction to Literature. 5th ed. Boston: Bedford-St. Martin's, 1999. 97.
Pack, Robert. "Frost's Enigmatical Reserve: The Poet as Teacher and Preacher." Modern Critical Views: Robert Frost. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1986. 10.
Thompson, Lawrance. Robert Frost: The Years of Triumph. Notes. Online. World Wide Web. 21 Jul 2000. .
Wyatt, David M. "Choosing in Frost." Frost: Centennial Essays II. Ed. Jac Tharpe. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1976. 129-35.
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