The Road Not Taken Essay

The Road Not Taken Essay

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"The Road Not Taken" in the Choices of Life 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. (Frost 1-5) On the surface, Robert Frost’s poem is a story about a walk on a wooded road, but it had deeper meaning to him and how he feels about "the road." Also, the poem has a universal meaning about life and the choices it presents. Further, the poem is magnificently written in Frost’s own created rhyme style. Lastly, a sigh might just be a sigh to some, but in this piece it means much more to Frost. Frost’s 1916 poem "The Road Not Taken" is an example of how Frost writes poetry enthralling the reader with a grand opening and an unexpected ending that must be thoroughly analyzed. Frost wrote "The Road Not Taken" while living in Gloucestershire, England in 1914 though he was an American citizen. His friend Edward Thomas and he would often go on walks so that Thomas could show him special plants or sights. When Thomas would choose a path, it was certain that every time he would regret the choice he had made sighing that they should have taken a "better" direction (Banerjee and Shefali 1). When Frost wrote this he supposedly pretended to "carry himself" as Thomas just long enough to write the poem. Furthermore, Frost first wrote the poem as almost a joke for Thomas. Later it held more value for him though, as an example of life choices. "The Road Not Taken" is literally a story about a walk on a road one fall morning. The title even tells of the idea that a choice has been made before reading the poem. The opening line tells how the road broke into a "y." This simple "y" in the road alludes also to Frost’s first line of the poem and his choice of yellow ("y") to describe the fall trees. This is a simple natural symbol but, when looked into further, shows how he is looking to the winter, the future, which is a harsh season. Frost talks about the two roads and how they are the same, comparing them. "Road A" twists beneath the undergrowth, which alludes to a hard trail ahead. Countless obstacles are on this walk that may catch the narrator. "Road B" is straight, grassy, open, and sunny, showing that the walk will be nice and easy. No one else is on the road with the narrator. He is alone, contemplating the decision by himself. The ultimate decision that is going to be made by the narrator as to which equally worn road to take with no help from anyone. He knows that the road he takes will lead him forever, foreshadowing that the choice he does makes could be a regret or satisfaction. Frost then said in the present tense last stanza that the narrator’s choice was "the one less traveled by" (20). This simple statement has significant importance, for he contradicts himself. Frost was unable to tell if anyone had walked the roads ;yet the one less traveled was chosen, when in actuality it is the one more "traveled by" because the narrator traveled it. The road in the poem is not just a road ;it is a symbol of choices in our lives. Frost implies that the narrator is sorry that he could not take both roads and see two different outcomes before the decision is made. The outcomes can not be seen, though looking as far as he could, the road would either bend and disappear into the undergrowth or go until the eye could see no further. He says to himself three times in the poem that both roads are equal, but in the final outcome he chooses the one less traveled, "wanting wear" (Frost 8). The narrator saying this to himself three times definitely gives the impression that he has time and is in no hurry to make a decision since only one road may be taken, one decision made, and one final destiny for a lifetime. No one will make the exact same decision again. The narrator could live to regret that he did or did not take another path. Also, his decision may be satisfying to him, not looking back at what may have been but instead of what is here, what he is living for right now and the future that he has just planned for himself. "The Road Not Taken" is masterfully written not just with a tell all title, forceful opening words, and an ironic final stanza but also with rhyme scheme. Frost wrote it in abaab meaning that the last word in the first, third, and fourth lines rhyme. Also, the last word of the second and fifth lines of the poem rhyme. The meter is tetrameter, meaning that there are four beats in a line (Banerjee and Shefali). Frost always used some rhyme scheme or meter in his poems often joking that writing free verse is like "playing tennis with the net down," (qtd. in O’Donnell). Using rhymes almost give the poem a sing-song effect that makes it flow together easier, coming together as a whole. In the last stanza Frost says, "I shall be telling this with a sigh," implying that the path was chosen, and he hopes that the decision was the correct one. This common sigh could be of regret, how he wished that he would have taken the other. Likewise it could have been satisfaction, like a good sigh after the hard work of decision making. However, the sigh can also be taken in another light. The sigh could be just on the surface, for those who just "looked" at the poem. Looked at from that perspective, the sigh could just be of the narrator giving up, choosing the road in need of wear. Also, the sigh to more in-depth readers, could be TOWARDS the reader implying just as those who might think the narrator would live to be sorry for the choice he had taken on the road, in life. He will not regret the choice he has made, though because he knows that he will never again come across the break in the road. In choosing this road, he has sealed his fate for "ages and ages" in the future as he reminisces upon this decision. In conclusion, "The Road Not Taken" is another example of Robert Frost’s amazing ability as a writer to captivate his audience from the very beginning to the very end of his poems. Frost starts with a simple "y" in the road accented with the yellow woods surrounding it and the narrator. We conclude that Frost wrote this as almost a jest for would often when taking a walk people sigh saying they wished that they had chosen a different route. This is not just an ordinary sigh to Frost though ;there is more underneath it, much more meaning than just a breath. Also, he concludes with a masterful ending about the choice upon which the narrator has decided. The poem is a stellar example of how life choices are made alone with only nature as a guide. The poem also an insight into the narrator’s thought process about which path he wishes to choose, forever. Furthermore Frost ties the whole masterpiece together with tetrameter meter and an abaab pattern in each of the four stanzas. As William G. O’Donnell said of Robert Frost, "Although one person’s interpretation may be superior to another’s, sooner or later you have no choice but to venture out on your own and decide what, if anything, a particular poem is all about." So, please go and read "The Road Not Taken" and discover the meaning of the poem for yourself, as or risk not discovering it at all.

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