Robert Frost: The Road Not Taken Essay, Research Paper
The Road Not Taken is perhaps one of Robert Frost’s most famous poems. This poem deals with the choices you have to make in life. Whether it’s what to wear in the morning or what to do with your life, everyone makes choices. When you look at this poem carefully, you realize Robert Frost is choosing much more than what road to walk down. He is making a lifelong decision.
One of the reasons I am drawn to this poem is the imagery. A forest is a very quiet place that suits this poem well. Being in a forest alone is soothing and a good place to think. Also, many people can relate to being in a wooded area and they can create a mental picture of it. From the beginning, when he said, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,” I could picture being in a yellow forest and seeing a fork in the path. The visual images he presents in this poem help the reader to see and feel what he is writing about.
The way the poem is presented on paper is important because it helps to create visual images. This poem has four stanzas with five lines in each stanza. Within each stanza the first, third and fourth lines rhyme. Also the second and fifth lines rhyme. This makes the poem consistent. Consistency is good in a poem like this one because it makes the reader feel more at ease. When you read each stanza you pause after each one because there is a break in what you are reading. After each stanza a different mental picture is created. This helps the reader to better understand the poem. In a poem each stanza is like a paragraph presenting a new idea in each one.
The content of this poem goes much deeper than someone walking in the woods and trying to decide which road to walk down. Robert Frost is not just talking about the roads in the woods. He is talking about the roads of life. Should you go down the road that is “safe” and many others have walked down? Or should you take a chance and walk down the path that not so many people have taken?
We all know Robert Frost takes the road not taken. But the question is how many people would take the unknown road? Why bother to do that when you can walk risk-free down the same road that everyone else is walking down. It’s familiar, and everyone else walked down it, so it can’t be that bad. Many people would probably take the road that everyone else takes. I would probably take it too. Things that you know others have done gives a sense of security to people. I know that before I do something if I am not secure in my decision, then I won’t do it.
Walking down the road not taken can have a lot of consequences. You could never come back and you don’t know what is down that road. Some people like to take chances and not know what is going to happen. This is what Robert Frost is talking about. He is walking and decides to take the road that many others may not take. He does know what the consequences are going to be, but he does it anyway. It takes a strong person to take the road not taken. Not many people would be strong enough to do something in which they did not know what was going to happen. I feel that it takes a special person to walk down the unknown road and succeed in life. That’s what Robert Frost did.
After reading this poem, I came to the realization that when walking down the road of life you might come across a fork in the road. Instead of taking the road that others have taken, challenge yourself and take the one less traveled. The road less traveled may be more challenging but hard work does pay off. It may be scary not knowing what is going to happen, but it’ll work out in the end. After all, Robert Frost took the road not taken “and that has made all the difference.”
Autor: people • March 23, 2012 • Essay • 1,408 Words (6 Pages) • 690 Views
Robert Frost: The Road Not Taken (1915)
Although written in 1915, Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" is a poem that addresses themes and ideas that are still pertinent in modern times. The poem is a mere 4 stanza quatrain, written simplistically in a language that is easily understandable by the masses. A possible reason for this use of minimalist language could be its accessibility to all levels of education. It is a poem about life and life's daily choices that is meant to be applied to people of all walks of life. The theme of decision making is initiated in the first line: "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood. " This opening implants certain peremptory sentiments in the mind of the reader. There is one wood but it is separated into two distinct roads. When read, this first line already starts the audience thinking. It is a familiar situation in which everyone can relate to. It involves choices. Decisions are a vital part of life. The majority of decisions are quite simple and interchangeable. But the major decisions made in life usually come along with two other sentiments: doubt and acceptance. With that being said, the three major themes to be discussed are decisions, doubt, and acceptance.
Decision making is something that most people take for granted. It is almost second nature in most circumstances. Many decisions are made through pure impulse, almost as in a reflex motion. These decisions are reactionary, like taking one's hand away from a fire when the heat is felt. Other decisions are not quite reactions but are entirely interchangeable without yielding much difference in outcomes. This would be like deciding to have grape jelly with breakfast instead of strawberry. The outcome is much the same. However, there are certain decisions that have the potential to change the course of one's life. These decisions require much more thought, and the decision making process usually involves quite a great deal of deliberation. It is one such decision that is insinuated in "The Road Not Taken." The dilemma is displayed very explicitly in the first stanza. The audience is told that there is one man faced with two roads, and only one can be taken. The importance of this decision is shown through the length of time spent on it. ". Long I stood,/ and looked down one as far as I could. " Frost is not in a hurry to make a choice. It seems to be quite important, and it is inferred that an error in judgment could be in some way costly. The second stanza shows more of the same deliberation. He weighs both roads and finds one to be a bit more inviting, ". Because it was grassy and wanted for wear. " In the third stanza, he makes the decision to take the second road, keeping the first for "another day." In this way the audience gets a look into Frost's decision making process.
A common part of the decision making process is doubt. Doubt is something that can be extremely detrimental, but it is very natural and almost inevitable. At various points in the poem, Frost expresses doubt. The second half of the first stanza, Frost's hesitation is introduced. He was standing for some time, trying to peek to the end of both paths. The doubt he faces comes from the unknown. He could only see so far down both paths. "And looked down one as far as I could/ To where it bent in the undergrowth." The path bent and was covered at a point in which the end was past his line of vision. This obstruction to his vision is very symbolic. Many times in life, things are uncertain. The outcome is very rarely going to be foreseeable. Most things end in a metaphorical gamble, like the flip of a coin. Even when solid logic is used, nothing can really be seen as certain. This uncertainty laces life with doubt. The second stanza continues this sentiment of uncertainty, but a decision is made. Although the decision is made, there is still some hedging. The word "perhaps" stirs
By: Edward • Essay • 413 Words • March 25, 2010 • 1,087 Views
Robert Frost's “the Road Not Taken”
Robert Frost’s poems often relates to human misfortunes and fears, his response to the obstacles of life, and his acceptance of his burdens. His observations and natural details of his poems have symbolic significance, even reality beyond the observable physical universe. It is known that Robert Frost’s best works were written in England. During 1916, Robert Frost, an English professor at Amherst College, encouraged his students to write out their thoughts creatively while he wrote “The Road Not Taken”, one of his famous poems today. Judging from the title, tells us that the theme of this poem are about life and choices.
The first stanza of the poem reveals the uncertainty and difficulty in trying to make a decision while he regrets because he sees that there were “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood/ And sorry that I could not travel both” (1-2) He observes the two roads and sees that one of the roads was “…grassy and wanted wear” (8) while the other was just “…worn them really about the same” (10) depicts Frost’s desire to not necessarily follow the others. “Yet knowing how way leads on to way, /I doubted if I should ever come back.” (14-15) he decides that he wants to try something new and go down the path that no one took. Despite the lengths he goes to see where each road ends, he cannot see pass where the road stretches, also comparing to life choices; not knowing
President John F. Kennedy summed up the level of fame and influence that Robert Frost possessed. Kennedy said, "He has bequeathed his nation a body of imperishable verse from which Americans will forever gain joy and understanding."
Robert Frost was born in 1874 in San Francisco, California. When he moved to New England, he became interested in reading and writing poetry. He enrolled in Dartmouth College as well as Harvard University, but he never received a degree. After leaving school, Frost worked as a teacher, cobbler, and he was the editor of the Lawrence Sentinel, of Lawrence Massachusetts. In 1894, Frost was published for the first time. His poem, "My Butterfly" was featured in The Independent ("Robert Frost").
When Robert Frost was married in 1895, his wife Elinor became an inspiration for Frost's writings. After their farm in New Hampshire became a failure, the couple moved to England in 1912. This relocation allowed Frost to be influenced by British poets of the time, such as Edward Thomas and Robert Graves. Ezra Pound, another poet, became friends with Mr.Frost and helped promote him and publish his works. Robert and Elinor did not stay in England long though, as the couple returned to the United States in 1915. Frost had published two full-length collections of poems and had established a reputation for himself. As Frost continued to publish his works through the nineteen twenties, he became more recognized and more famous. Until his death in 1963, Robert Frost continued to publish his work, and he also taught in Massachusetts and Vermont ("Robert Frost").
In 1916, the third collection of Frost's poems was published under the title, Mountain Interval. Featured in this collection was the poem, "The Road Not Taken." The poem is very well known, not just by fans of Robert Frost, but by many people all over the planet. The poem is about a speaker that is standing in the woods.
The person in the woods is stopped at a fork in the road, and they are considering their options for traveling farther on the road. "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood/And sorry I could not travel both." Both of the potential routes are equally worn and both ways are filled with un-trodden leaves, meaning that neither of the paths have been recently traveled. "Though as for that,the passing there/Had worn them really about the same." The speaker ultimately chooses one path over the other. The speaker tells himself that he will take the other route on another day, "Oh, I kept the first for another day!" Right after he says this though, the speaker decides that he probably won't have the opportunity to go back and traverse the path that he neglected earlier. "Yet knowing how way leads on to way,/I doubted if I should ever come back." The speaker ends the poem by trying to justify his choice. He says that he took the road less traveled, and that was the best choice. "I took the one less traveled by,/And that has made all the difference," ("Frost's Early Poems").
"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost is one of the poet's most famous works, and many people interpret it to mean a similar thing. I believe that this poem has two
2 The Road Not Taken Robert Frost’s ‘The Road Not Taken’ is a poem about the choices faced in life. To illustrate these choices, Frost uses a metaphor of a forked path in a wood. One way is well-trodden and the other is fresh with grass. The first symbolises a safe, easy choice which others often take. The second, the one Frost chooses, is more risky and unknown. Frost regrets that he ‘could not travel both’ but, just as life’s decisions are irreversible, the path he chooses leads on to further paths.
4 Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; The ‘two roads’ represent a choice in life – this is a metaphor as the paths should not be seen literally ‘diverged’ – means split or divided he regrets not being able to make both choices - as ‘one traveller’ we cannot do this represents the thought process needed to make the choice. The poem rhymes: abaab – this is a lyrical, traditional poem unlike others in the anthology
5 Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, sees both choices as having equal merit – pros and cons the narrator chooses the path that was grassier, hence less people had walked it in the past. Keep remembering this is all a metaphor for the choices one has to make in life after thinking about it he declares them worn ‘about the same’ – he contradicts himself showing us the difficulty of the decision and his hesitancy
6 And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. looking back, he realises that no one had chosen either path that day – both were covered with ‘leaves no step had trodden black’ exclamation of regret – emphasises the importance of the choice by making a choice, your life changes and you are never able to make things exactly as they were in the past. A bit like the butterfly effect. Even at the time of making the choice, he ‘doubted if [he] should ever come back’ – this gives a real sense of stepping into the unknown
7 I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. he looks to the future – he cannot be certain that his choice was the right one repetition of opening – poem is circular. This is Frost telling the same story again in the future ‘the difference’ - you can interpret this as you wish but it is important that you do think about its meaning. Frost himself says this final line does not mean he made the right choice, rather that he had to make the choice and it changed everything
8 Links to other poems… ‘Warning’ probably works the best as it is also about a risky choice. In ‘Digging’, Seamus Heaney chooses to become a poet rather than follow in his father’s footsteps.
9 Hints and Tips This is a lovely poem but relating it to the others in the anthology might be difficult. If you do choose to write about it, you must be clear that the poem is a metaphor for the choices in life; if you do NOT understand this ask me or someone else what it means because an examiner will not be impressed if you do not show an understanding of this. Try to imagine a choice. For example, a girl who becomes pregnant and whether or not she should have an abortion, or the decision to stay on at school/college or go straight into work. Try to relate the choice to the poem and you should find it easier. This analysis is excellent: ky_poem if you want any more info. ky_poem
10 Example Questions 1.‘The Road Not Taken’ is a poem about the decisions you can make in life. Choose another poem where the narrator has made a choice or is thinking about making a choice. How do they compare? 2.The ‘two roads’ in this poem are a metaphor. Find another metaphor in a different poem and explain how these uses of figurative language illustrate the poems’ themes.