The Road Not Taken and Other Poems by Robert FrostTwo roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
These deceptively simple lines from the title poem of this collection suggest Robert Frost at his most representative: the language is simple, clear and colloquial, yet dense with meaning and wider significance. Drawing upon everyday incidents, common situations and rural imagery, Frost fashioned poetry of great lyrical beauty and potent symbolism.
Originally published in 1916 under the title Mountain Interval.
Robert Frost: Poems Summary and Analysis of "The Road Not Taken" (1916)
The speaker stands in the woods, considering a fork in the road. Both ways are equally worn and equally overlaid with un-trodden leaves. The speaker chooses one, telling himself that he will take the other another day. Yet he knows it is unlikely that he will have the opportunity to do so. And he admits that someday in the future he will recreate the scene with a slight twist: He will claim that he took the less-traveled road. The rhyme scheme is ABAAB; the rhymes are strict and masculine, with the notable exception of the last line we do not usually stress the -ence of difference. There are four stressed syllables per line, varying on an iambic tetrameter base.
The narrator comes upon a fork in the road while walking through a yellow wood. He considers both paths and concludes that each one is equally well-traveled and appealing. After choosing one of the roads, the narrator tells himself that he will come back to this fork one day in order to try the other road. However, he realizes that it is unlikely that he will ever have the opportunity to come back to this specific point in time because his choice of path will simply lead to other forks in the road and other decisions. The narrator ends on a nostalgic note, wondering how different things would have been had he chosen the other path. Since its publication, many readers have analyzed the poem as a nostalgic commentary on life choices. Rather than taking the safe path that others have traveled, the narrator prefers to make his own way in the world.
Pssst… we can write an original essay just for you. The poem describes the dilemmas and choices one must make in life, and how those specific decisions affect that person.
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"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost
Andrew has a keen interest in all aspects of poetry and writes extensively on the subject. His poems are published online and in print. If life is a journey, this poem highlights those times in life when a decision has to be made. Which way will you go? The ambiguity springs from the question of free will versus determinism, whether the speaker in the poem consciously decides to take the road that is off the beaten track or only does so because he doesn't fancy the road with the bend in it. External factors therefore make up his mind for him. Robert Frost wrote this poem to highlight a trait of, and poke fun at, his friend Edward Thomas, an English-Welsh poet, who, when out walking with Frost in England would often regret not having taken a different path.