The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost

The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost

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The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
Overview of the Poem
• Walking in a wood and the road comes to a fork
• He stands a long time at the meeting of the two roads and looks down one path as far as he can but it disappears in the ‘undergrowth’ as it takes a bend
• He then considers the second path. He sees it is less worn and has more grass. The leaves are still untrodden so the paths remain fresh and exciting. It seems that he is the first traveller to pass this way for a while
• ‘long I stood’ shows that he contemplated the decision
• The persona begins to think about how he cannot take both paths and be the same “traveler”
• “Oh, I kept the first for another day!” Despite this wish he realizes he can never come back and take the untaken path because his choice will lead him in a different direction. He knows that “way leads on to way.” Realistically he doubts if he will ever come back because it is impossible to return to that place and make the same choice under similar circumstances because the original choice will have changed his life
• Frost realizes that had he taken the other road he would not be where he is today. He was adventurous and choose the road that had been traveled the least recently and that one decision changed his life
• He will be telling the story about his choice with a “sigh”. This suggests a more reflective stance on his choice and the effect it will have on his life.
• “Ages and ages hence” when he tells the story of his choice he will wonder about his life if he had taken the other road
Analysis of poem
• In ‘The Road Not Taken’ Frost has used the journey to offer ideas about how effective decisions are made. He also explores how our choices in life move us through life so that returning to previous times and situations becomes unlikely if not impossible
• On the surface the poem seems to be a meditation on past events and actions, a contemplative reflection about what has gone on before. Research into the poem informs us that the poem is written with a sense of irony
• The ambiguity which dominates the poem seems to be intentional. The only certainty in the poem is that it deals with a solitary traveler who has come to a fork in the road and must choose which way to go.

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Related Searches

• Frost uses the technique of monologue that moves us toward an understanding of a spiritual or psychological moment in time
• The poem is in the first person which instantly brings the audience close to the experience being recounted
• It is a poem that is said to be about Frost’s own choice to become a poet, a less popular career choice in his time. However, the poem can be applied to life and the decisions people make in it.
• The road is a metaphor for choices that you have to make during your life
• The poem is seen by many as a reflection which is aided by the choice of words Frost uses, as well as the tense he employs in this text. The poem is certainly a metaphor; and this is what transforms this journey from a physical one to an inner journey.
• This atmosphere is important for the messages of the poem. The persona travelling in a “yellow wood” where the colour may well symbolize the maturity and understanding that the persona reaches
• It is important that neither choice is represented as the better choice. Each option is attractive represented by the covering of leaves that “no step had trodden black”. Life offers many attractive choices that may all be equally worthwhile
• The poem also uses the imaginative journey to convey the sense of life’s wonder. Both choices are potentially satisfying for the persona. The initial delight when he exclaims he will keep “the first for another day” shows that there are many positive choices that can be made in life
• The poem is titled “The road not taken” which further indicates both options were valid. Yet it also indicates that the persona’s thoughts are still with what may have been.
• He “took the one less traveled” and “this made all the difference”. We are left with the felling that the choice he has made has given him both hope and regret but this is the human experience
• The poem is in past tense but the poet chooses to use future tense in the final stanza, “I shall be telling this…” The definite tone of this stanza may be seen to indicate his confidence in the decision. It helps persuades the audience of the wide decision and the correctness of the ideas of the poem
• Frost is saying that journeys you take in life will change the person you are. Journeys will never be smooth sailing and you need to make decisions carefully. It is what you learn on the journey that will make all the difference.
• The poem shows how imaginative journeys can be used by composers to communicate ideas they believe are important. Frost offers ideas about how effective decisions are made, and how our choices in life move us through life
• Thus the poem teaches the audience about the value of imaginative journeys. We can reflect and learn about our lives and the world around us.
• “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood”
• “And sorry I could not travel both”
• “Had worn them really about the same”
• “Oh! I kept the first for another day!”
• “Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back”
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