“The road not taken” was penned down by Robert Frost back in 1916 and was contained in Mountain Interval. Frost is known to be one of the greatest American poets to have emerged. The poem in question represents various aspects of Frost’s life in a rather delicate and judicious manner…
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The prominent literary movement that can be observed within the poem is iambic tetrameter with four stressed syllables present per line. This poem has two more distinctions – one that it is considered by many as Frost’s most popular work and two that this poem is considered very tricky by Frost himself. (Grimes, 2006) There is controversy to whether the poem in question was directed more at the poet’s life than at someone else. One of Frost’s own statements from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference of 1953 provides great insight (Ballantine, 2003): "One stanza of 'The Road Not Taken' was written while I was sitting on a sofa in the middle of England: Was found three or four years later, and I couldn't bear not to finish it. I wasn't thinking about myself there, but about a friend who had gone off to war, a person who, whichever road he went, would be sorry he didn't go the other. He was hard on himself that way." The reference to the friend here is fellow poet Edward Thomas. The poet and Thomas used to take long walks together through a forest. After each walk, the poet noticed that Thomas regretted not having taken the path that they did not take. Thomas would relate that they might have missed quite some things on the path that they did not travel on. ...
The poet lived a life filled with grief and misery to a large extent but it must be noted that these problems could not dissuade Frost from displaying his true genius as a poet. The poem will provide a glimpse of this as we go along the explication. Moreover, some of the core beliefs that the poet held throughout life will be seen reflecting prominently from this poem. Perhaps, none is more apparent than Frost’s statement: “I have discovered three words about life – it goes on.” The poem starts out with the first verse relating the splitting of paths. The paths “diverged in a yellow wood”. Using these words, the poet expresses two distinct things. One thing is that the path that the author was travelling on has come to a crossroads. Secondly, the poet has come to a “yellow wood” that signifies the onset of autumn when the New England countryside turns yellow. The poet spent a great deal of his life is New England and was known for his affiliation to rustic countryside scenes. His use of vivid imagery to transmit social and personal phenomenon is nothing new therefore the use of the term “yellow wood” signifies the author standing at a cross roads having a difficult decision to execute. One literary device in use over here is the antithesis whereby the author is torn between which paths to take. The poet moves into the second verse by indicating that he feels sad at not being able to travel both paths being offered. Here the poet can be seen to be tugging his friend Edward Thomas’ line of thinking. Thomas held every single time that he missed out on the path that he did not travel on. Similarly, the poet wants to travel both paths simultaneously so that he does not miss out on anything
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In the second stanza the poet extends the metaphor set in the first stanza. The poet decides to take the other road, which to him seemed to be more appropriate in the sense that “it was grassy and wanted wear”. In a figurative sense this road presents the tough choices in life which only a chosen few decide to get along with.
The conclusion from this study states that the road not taken is a poem with a hidden meaning, it tells us how our life presents two choices in front of us, when we make our choice, after a few years we more often than not ponder over the options we would have had, had we chosen to trot on the road not taken. The poem is very tricky and requires immense concentration to be understood.
The author says that from the wear and tear of the road, the speaker is able to identify which road is frequently used by the travelers and which one is the least used. Between these two paths, he has to decide which one he is going to make use of. After lots of thinking he chooses the road seldom used.
Our journey of life is often through woods. And we are at cross roads too, forcing us to choose one of the roads. The speaker in the poem reaches such a cross road as he was walking through the woods. Like all of us, he too is confused about which way he must take. Thus this poem is all about the choices we have to make in our life.
In this poem, Frost deems suppose he had chosen the other path in his life things would be currently different. This is evident from his sentiments claiming, “I shall be telling this with a sigh” (Frost 16) not being able to expound explicitly
According to Robert Frost in the poem the road not taken, there is a complete dilemma about which road to take. The speaker decides to choose a road that is strange and that is less travelled. However in the end, the speaker regrets that he wishes he should have travelled the other road. Robert is teaching us the lesson about choice.
The conclusion from this study states that the poem leaves us wondering just what “difference” is made by all, knowing that the two “roads “are already in existence and that there are limited possibilities. Thus exhausted possibilities of personal experience reduce a lot of regret over “the road not taken” or lots of bravado for “the road not taken” by everybody else.
In a subtly proud yet enthusiastic musing of a notable journey, Robert Frost’s ‘The Road Not Taken’ presents a general view of life and implies persuasion to acknowledge the most realistic though equally rewarding philosophy. It calls forth an essential realization that life, despite its twists and turns through good and bad, is all about a matter of choice and standing by it.
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