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Analysis and comments on The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

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Comment 16 of 1116, added on October 10th, 2004 at 8:02 PM.

This poem represents life as a journey of choices. The forks are choices
you come to and the road you go down depends on what decision you make. The
lesser traveled road is the road a leader would want to take, someone who
doesn't follow the crowd.

Lexi from United States
Comment 15 of 1116, added on October 7th, 2004 at 7:02 PM.

The Road Not Taken is the one we all dare to travel down. It is an
adventure, the path of learning and knowledge. New discoveries are made
there if we dare to go there. It takes courage, and faith in oneself to
dare to travel upon it. It is an open trail to everyone but a harder more
difficult one. It is an eye-opener, a soul seeker, a place to reflect and
build. If you dare to take it and accomplish all that you set out to
do...then leave all the buliding blocks for the next one to build upon.
Divine wisdom comes from the spirit of a man that came from his Great

Comment 14 of 1116, added on October 4th, 2004 at 10:13 PM.

Do any of you believe in anything? There are not many meanings in this
poem. Frost is a genius, because he, like Shakespeare provides two ways of
reading his works: the fallen view for the sentimentalists and the wise
view for those who have the conviction and awareness to search for truth by
noticing the details. The poem is not called the road less travelled by.
It is called The Road Not Taken. Why do so many think it is called the
former? Because they see the world the way they want to see it (Disney
fans no doubt) rather than the way it actually is. These are the people
who have the thing framed on their wall, as if to express to the world that
they are proud nonconformists (ego), or to comfort themselves by convincing
themselves that their fuck-ups are justified by their courage (ego). These
are the people that see two roads that look pretty much the same, and then
pat themselves on the back for choosing the difficult one. Ultimately, the
most difficult path is the one where you admit the truth about yourself, by
not glorifying your past decisions, but by being happy with yourself no
matter if you made good ones or bad ones. That is the road not taken by
most, and that is the road Frost would like you to take so you can stop
living in denial and start getting real. I know what you relativists out
there are thinking. This guy sounds like an arrogant prick and if he's
right about Frost then he too is an elitist. All I'll say to that is that
nothing truly worthwile is easy, nothing truly true is accessible to people
who don't search every nook and cranny, and the only way to join the club
is to stop saying everybody has a right to their opinion and start
believing you might just be right. If you'd like my analysis of the poem,
just ask.

jellyroll from United Kingdom
Comment 13 of 1116, added on October 3rd, 2004 at 8:13 PM.

all of you have valid points. i can say no more

E. E. Cummings from United States
Comment 12 of 1116, added on September 28th, 2004 at 8:15 PM.

This poem produces a multitude of implications, which each indivicual can
interpret to his or her own liking. The interpretation that I
predominately tend to deem acceptable embraces the thought of Frost, later
in life, telling this story to others, and embellishing the details or
facts to seem more attractive. However, to each his own.

Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Kevin from United States
Comment 11 of 1116, added on September 27th, 2004 at 9:06 AM.

According to me frost hads depicted the poem very well , the main theme of
the poem stands out that you got to be one traveller,you can't choose two
paths and walk on them, but there will always be curosity about the other
path, as it is human tendency to be curious abt things which they are
unaware of. Robert frost is one writer who potarys a problem and explore
the many paradoxical issues it involves, he never says this is right or
wrong, he just puts 2 opposing ideas both are right
hence in short he potarys society as it is with diffrtent views

christine from India
Comment 10 of 1116, added on September 22nd, 2004 at 10:30 PM.

there are many meanings in this poem no doubt and we each interpret in or
own way. But I look at it as simply as I can.... break it down. the roads
are obviously lifes choices to me. with the last line indicating the lesser
traveled or harder road is usually more rewarding..or the most dificult
choices lead to the most reward...we then again can say that this is but a
few words a man wrote years ago.ofering words of wisdom or entertainment.

jerry from United States
Comment 9 of 1116, added on September 22nd, 2004 at 12:43 PM.

I disagree with the notion that one would probably regret a second chance.
Personally, I had a second-chance to study in academia and attain long
lasting dreams of high achievment in study.

Specifically, after graduating in my 20s at a top public university, I
earned only Bs and Cs. It was a difficult transtional time in my life.
Nonetheless, in spite of the vigors and obligations of life, I forced my
conditions to allow for pursuit of another undergraduate degree some years

In this second opportunity to study and achieve, I earned all A's and
graduated with the most prestigious distinctions. It was a personal
achievment for which I had long dreamed. To be sure, there was no time
where I regretted my choice to study another 5 years. Indeed, I left my
career frozen with no increase in experience and therefore earnings, and I
worked at night for mizerly wages barely capable of supporting me despite a
college degree from a top school. And in the final analysis, it was worth
every minute of study and every lost dollar.

Therefore, it is clear not everyone would regret a second opportunity to
make a correct choice. In addtion, I suspect if everyone maintained the
willingness to "righ" a past "wrong," then no one would regret the
opportunity to make that "wong" "right."

Michael from United States
Comment 8 of 1116, added on September 20th, 2004 at 1:30 PM.

If only...is a sentiment we all use, usually when a supposedly wrong
decision has been made. In reality if we had a second chance of choosing
the right path; we would probably regret our choice.

Terence Smiyh from United Kingdom
Comment 7 of 1116, added on September 19th, 2004 at 1:22 PM.

Forgive me if I am completely misplaced because it has been quite some time
since I last visited American Literature--and Robert Frost.

However, I sense that many commentators here have overlooked some revealing
and specific language Frost intentionally employed in this poem. As a
result of this oversight, these commentators have too strongly asserted
that Frost mocked romantic ideals of nastalgia and life.

Clearly, there exists a potential argument that Frost may have been
offering a caliber of criticism and satire. For example, the suggestion
that we could save the first road for another day: "Oh, I kept the first
for another day!" However, this is a flawed argument because it is possible
to revisit a life-altering decision. In fact, many have altered the course
of their lives in midstream by revisiting decisions. To offer contemporary
example, a mother in her mid-40s earing a college degree after dropping out
of highschool at the age of 17. Clearly, this typ of example was less
available in the 19th century, yet others examples of "second choices" did
exist--such as accumulating a fortune in ranching or mining. Still other
examples exist. Therefore, it is possible that Frost may have implicitly
offered this "Reality Americana" to reader--and not cynically dismiss the
idea that a revisiting of a life-altering decision was impossible.

Furthermore, to strongly assert that Frost is cynically criticizing those
romanic idealists who at times enjoy nastalgic recollections, or believe
they can travel 2 roads in life is misplaced. By offering this sentiment,
the argument sustains a very difficult position of explaining away Frost's
last sentence: "And that has made all the difference." Without doubt, it is
a vulnerable argument to convey that Frost communicated cynicism and
mockery of romantic ideals when at the crescendo of his poem he produces
the most romantic of all notions--to engage in probably the most personally
challenging of life-trajectories. According to Frost, this engagement
seemed to matter the most, and offer the greatest of sattisfaction.

To be sure, it is a difficult endeavour to explanin why Frost applied this
sentence to his peom without accepting that he was embracing a romantic and
old American ideal of hard work, perseverance, and sattisfaction in
challenging oneself. Unless the position is advanced that Frost simply and
universally misled readers with romanic works while fevershly mocking life
and choice, it must be accepted he was celebrating the moment of
life-altering choice, and the decision to pursue the more unique life path.
Without doubt, if the assumption that the more unique life-road is more
unique because it is more difficult, Frost is also celebrating hard work
and the decision to engage in this work

The position that Frost simply and universally misled readers with romanic
works while fevershly mocking life and choice is possible, but unlikely. In
fact, Frost specifically reveals that he will probably never return to this
divergence because life will not avail him the opportunity: "Yet Knowing
how way leads on to way I doubted if I should ever come back." If Frost was
mocking life and our inability to exercise choice by offering romantic
words and notions, it is once again difficult to explain why he specfically
indicates he will not be capable of returning to this divergence. This
specific assertion seems to suggest that he is not hiding a message--that
he is forthright and transparent. Otherwise, it would seem Frost would have
concealed this inability to return to the divergence. The fact he clealry
asserts this inability weakens the notion that he is mocking life and the
availability of choice (and perhaps free will)--as if somehow implying we
have no choice.

Clearly, Frost states he is incapable of a return to the divergence because
of the vigors of life. For this reason, it seems readers should be slightly
more literal and less symbolic in analyzing Frost if the assumption is
accepted that he is employing some degree of consistency. Clearly this
assumption makes sense: a poet's message often reflects consistency.
Indeed, a poet would probably not write of God and then alter paths
midstream and write of the culture of ants. The poet would continue writing
of God. In short, and with the application of this logically parallel
example, Frost is offering his feelings freely and transparently--thus the
argument for hidden and symbolic mockery is not there.

There is little doubt, Frost forthrightly offers his perspective on the
choices of life in The Road Not Taken. Frost specifically asserts the
poem's narrator (perhaps Frost himself) is at a difficult position in life,
and a life-altering decision is necessary. He analyzes both options with
depth, and realizes he will not sustain a second opportunity to produce
this choice. After careful deliberation, the narrator chooses a trajectory
that is relatively less employed. This lesser relative employment perhaps
infers that it is a more difficult journey. Yet, in the end, Frost suggests
that this relatively unique trajectory (and perhaps more difficult
endeavour) offered him the greatest of sattisfaction probably due to not
only its uniqueness, but its challenges as well: "And it has made all of
the difference."

Michael from United States

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Information about The Road Not Taken

Poet: Robert Frost
Poem: 1. The Road Not Taken
Volume: Mountain Interval
Year: 1916
Added: Feb 1 2004
Viewed: 3475 times

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