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Comparing Robert Frost's "the Road Not Taken" and "stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"

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The most popular American poet of the twentieth century was Robert Frost. Most people know his name, quotes of his poems, and even his appearance. Given his enormous popularity, there is a great indication that he is also believed to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, modern American poet. Many of his poems contain hidden meaning and philosophies on life; things we can all relate to.

Two of the poems that fit this metaphysical and easily relatable category are "The Road Not Taken" and "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening". Both of these poems, after simple analysis, have many similarities and differences. Some of the similarities include an alluring quality of nature and a sense of regret; differences include a sense of / lack of obligation and the colors used in the poem's imagery. This is effortlessly noticed after analyzing both poems, and then comparing and contrasting the two.

In the poem "The Road Not Taken", the storyteller approaches a fork in the road whiles hiking through a yellow-leaved forest. After analyzing both paths, the narrator concludes that each path is equally appealing, but one being more traveled than the other. After deciding to continue down the less-traveled road, the narrator tells himself that he will return to this fork one day in order to attempt the other road. However, he quickly fathoms that it is unlikely because his choice of path will merely lead him to other forks in the road. The storyteller ends the poem on a nostalgic remark, wondering how changed things would have been had he decided to go down the other road.

In the poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening", the storyteller describes a dark winter evening where he stops his horse so he can watch the snow falling in the woods. He worries, at first that the property owner will be upset by his presence there, but eventually he remembers that the property owner lives in town; and so he is free to appreciate the splendor of the falling snow. The horse is confused because of his owner's decision to stop away from any farmhouses; he quickly shakes his bells in disapproval. After a few more seconds of quiet serenity, the storyteller reluctantly continues on his path.

The Road Not Taken - Robert Frost (P.94)

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim

Because it was grassy and wanted wear,

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I marked the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way

I doubted if I should ever come back.

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.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening - Robert Frost (P.153)

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound's the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.




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