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Analysis and comments on The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

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Comment 354 of 1194, added on February 15th, 2006 at 2:29 PM.

i think it says that we should try 2 do different thing instead of doing
the same, boring things over and over again. TRY SOMETING NEW! :)

Baxter from United States
Comment 353 of 1194, added on February 13th, 2006 at 8:26 PM.

Robert Frost is the man.The first time heard this poem i fell in love with
it and i hope every individual gets a chance to read this poem because its
a poem of a short life when a guy doesnt take a road and its the best poem

Taylor Marquez from United States
Comment 352 of 1194, added on February 11th, 2006 at 7:15 PM.

Here is what I thought of the poem after reading and studying it. It is not
so much an analysis of the poem, but an analysis of the devices used to
convey the thesis of the poem.

Robert Frost was one of the major American poets of the 20th century whose
lyrics often speak about living life itself. He lived during the years of
1874 to 1963, which encompasses both World War I and World War II, when
much of his poetry was written and “The Road Not Taken” being one of them.
Robert Frost lived a fairly restless life, with many personal and family
issues concerning moving, buying and selling property, working or quitting
multiple jobs, and just the very act of making many difficult decisions.
This is much of what Robert Frost was experiencing when he had to
constantly make life-changing decisions, many of which are in regards to
movement: having to move from California to Massachusetts to England and
back to several states in the United States again. This moving pertained to
his studies at various colleges as well as working a multitude of
occupations. His poetry brought him to England where he met up with several
other poets; however, due to the war, he was forced to move back to avoid
the commotion. In the case of the War, it would not only apply to Frost of
having to make a decision to leave the poets who had helped him begin his
poetry-writing career, but for other people of the world as well. This
would prompt him to write such a poem entitled “The Road Not Taken.”
The poem describes the act of making choices within one’s life is solely
responsible for the outcomes one produces. Frost speaks of the decisions
one encounters as they journey through life and how at several points, one
would come to a “fork” where the individual would have to decide which road
(or decision) is best for them. At such points, Frost goes further to
describe how one would contemplate whether or not the individual would like
to take the road that has been traveled more or embark upon their own path.
Because life is full of forks and divisions, it is not possible that one
can choose one way and decide to turn back for the other. In essence that a
life-changing decision is “life-changing,” it is all the same impossible to
turn back and take the other road.
“The Road Not Taken” possesses a solemn tone. The poem speaks very much
about the decisions one must make should they continue through their life.
Frost explains how “two roads diverged in a yellow wood,” and the speaker
“taking the other” after “long [he] stood” has “made all the difference.”
He acknowledges that the choices he has made and will make will greatly
affect his future; therefore it is not a matter to be taken lightly, thus
explaining his solemnity in the matter. The speaker realizes that both
roads were “equally laying” “just as fair,” which makes them “really about
the same.” The fact that there was not a significant difference between the
two roads makes it difficult for the speaker to choose which road he would
like to take. He understands that the choice is critical and does not treat
life like a game, to be jokingly selected. He therefore “looked down as far
as [he] could to where it bent in the undergrowth” to figuratively examine
how one decision would affect his life. It is reasonable how the speaker
would adopt such a solemnity while making such a decision as he would hope
to make the best decision and not have any regrets. In the way that a fork
in a road symbolizes a decision and a journey symbolizes a quest, the
speaker is seeking to continue his life and gain self-knowledge. To the
speaker, his pursuit is important, and that supports his taking on of a
solemn tone.
Though it is elaborate, the poem’s diction contributes to highly
reflective imagery. The act of speaking in past tense for the majority of
the poems develops the symbol of passing time. Frost also selects several
words such as “yellow wood,” “long,” “just as fair,” “sigh[ing],” “ages and
ages” portray that the speaker has been on the earth for quite a bit of
time. A “yellow wood” symbolizes autumn: a time when trees loose their
leaves, and life gets ready to die away for winter. It is typically
accepted that autumn is a time of aging, and one is approaching winter: the
time of death. With both the roads having been worn so much that they were
“just as fair,” it must have taken rather some time for both to be worn to
the same level. Frost goes further to explain how each road was like the
other in the morning. “Morning,” when looked upon literally would define a
new day, and from that one would connect figuratively that morning
signifies a new beginning and thus a passing of time. As time passes, one
would grow tired, hence the “sigh.” In the final verse, the speaker refers
to the future where he “shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages
and ages hence.” This is after many years of careful contemplation.
The whole idea of passing time demonstrates how the decision-making
process goes on for one’s entire life. The “two roads diverging” is just
one out of many decisions to be made. On one particular road, however,
there was a “bent in the undergrowth.” Figuratively speaking, a bend in a
road is an obstacle, and in this case, it was an obstacle in one of the
choices in the speaker’s life. When one works around an obstacle, it adds
to length; this being a length in time. In many ways, them poem has a time
motif, where life is a long and intricate situation to go through. By
stating how the roads were “grassy and wanted wear,” the speaker is
embarking on a new journey. This embarking is just another decision the
speaker must make that will inevitably decide for the outcome of his life.
Because none of the leaves on the roads were “trodden black,” he is not
taking the road others have taken, but making the way for his own life and
being the first to make such a decision. The speaker also knows that “way
leads onto way,” so even though the speaker has made a decision to travel
one road, the decision-making is continuous, and life does not stop for him
to retrace his steps and try the other road. The particular choice he made,
however, has made “all the difference,” and that signifies that his
contemplation has proven him a dramatic change in his life.
The poem’s language is simple, but the complex syntax connects the
punctuation and words to the thesis. Robert Frost wrote this poem in a few
different combinations of tertrameter which employs a simple rhyme scheme
and the varied effects of these schemes. By writing in such a fashion with
the entire poem composed of four sentences, he is able to equate the
feeling of many years passing by to the length of the sentences. These
sentences are characterized by compound, complex. The very idea of compound
and complex sentences is that they are long and elaborate, similar to that
of the continuous life-altering decisions made every day. In addition to
drawing out the ways how “way leads on to way,” Robert Frosts also inserts
punctuation in several places. Punctuation itself, especially in poetry,
can signify a range of things: a period meaning an end of a thought, a
comma showing a pausing moment, a semicolon to connect ideas, and a dash to
show large contrast. Acknowledging that, Frost tends to place the commas
where he is describing the two roads. The commas, like the words making up
the compound and complex sentences, force the audience to read his poem
with the intended pauses, obviously to indicate the idea that
decision-making is not a quick and easy task to do. The semicolons are also
used similarly with the commas; however, they provide a contrast of images
as well as the lengthening of the sentence, such as that of the road with
the “bent in the undergrowth,” and the other that “was grassy and wanted
wear.” It is through these commas and semicolons that Robert Frost extended
what would be a simpler sentence into a little more than two full stanzas.
There is the one colon and dash where it has
“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.”
The colon specifies the change between the past and the future when the
speaker tells of his past decision and how it will affect him versus the
future when he will be looking back at his past and how that has affected
him. The dash signifies a pause and provided for the repetition of “I.” The
repetition carries a hint of pride and pomposity. Though it may not be a
likable quality, the speaker is also stating at the same time that because
he decided for himself without the influence of others and embarked upon
his own journey, he has emerged successful and “made all the difference.”
The fact that his decision was the better one sentimentalizes this
particular time and will allow him to go on and make the better choices in
his future when he meets up on another road. That is crucial to
understanding the concept of “The Road Not Taken.”
Recognizing the value of “The Road Not Taken” can be a difficult thought
to let go. Many would always have the urge to head back and travel down the
other road instead just to experience what may happen. However, Robert
Frost wants readers to realize and accept that life is too full of
decisions to retrace every single diversion. He wants readers to be content
with the road they have taken and not doubt the other road not taken may be
better. To travel every diversion in a road would take more than a lifetime
to accomplish, and as long as one is still alive, there will forever be
diversions in the roads they take.

Brian from United States
Comment 351 of 1194, added on February 10th, 2006 at 9:04 PM.

This poem is, in fact, terrible. Frost attempts to make some sort of martyr
of himself, and in doing so, condescends to the rest of us. "I took to an
exotic sort of life while you plebeins stomped on your path of banality."
That is what he is saying to you. Mr. Frost ate poop and he is probably in
hell. =)

Jon from United States
Comment 350 of 1194, added on February 10th, 2006 at 11:51 AM.

I feel that Frosts work is a touch of work from heaven. I love to read his
work it touches my soul but i have 2 main poems that i love (the road not
taken),(fire and ice)they mean so much.not all of his work is his best but
the ones that are good are well really good. he is not my top poet but he
is up there with the greats!

Lori from United States
Comment 349 of 1194, added on February 9th, 2006 at 1:04 PM.

this poem rox!!!!!

April from United States
Comment 348 of 1194, added on February 7th, 2006 at 4:25 PM.

Hey just wanted to say that the poem touched my heart because it made me
realize what my life meant. It also made me realize that everything that
happens is for a reason because God has this plan for us. Also don't
follow everybody because you are suppose to be your own person and if you
follow everybody else you will get what they get. If you do your own thing
then you will get what you should get for yourself because if everybody
travels the easy road with no difficulties then they won't realize what its
worth. But if you travel the hard road you will realize the importance of
the life you have.

Amber from United States
Comment 347 of 1194, added on February 7th, 2006 at 2:37 PM.

Every day is a new horizen to look
Every day is a new way to take..


time,oh time....never come back again...

what we take,this or that.. it MAY be no sigh in it..!

Neda from Canada
Comment 346 of 1194, added on February 6th, 2006 at 4:10 PM.

Here is another interpretation in my own words of this poem:

As are the sands in an hourglass
These are the days of our lives
As are the ripples in a pond
These are the days of our lives

Thank you. John Mark, your wife delivered the figgy pudding the other day.
It was quite scrumptious.

Joodie from Bulgaria
Comment 345 of 1194, added on February 6th, 2006 at 8:43 AM.

This poem fits me and my life in more than just one way or more than just
touching my heart. It fits how I had to choose a road to take to make me
happy for the rest of my life.

Emily 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: 859 times
Poem of the Day: Dec 4 2017

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