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Robert Frost's "the Road Not Taken"

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When readers hear the title of Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" and read the poem for the first time it is likely to bring feelings that it is noble and righteous to take the so called less traveled path in life. It evokes thoughts of individualism and standing up for what is right. Once a reader studies this poem and reads in numerous times they learn this is not the case. "The Road Not Taken" is not a poem about less traveled roads, but quite the opposite. It is about the roads traveled by everyone.

The poem starts off by describing two separate paths along a wooded trail. This is an image familiar with reads, both literally and figuratively. Readers should almost instantly know that Frost is talking about paths chosen in life, not the woods. This poem describes the woods and the paths beautifully, taking care to describe the state of each path.

Almost immediately after the path is chosen, the poem describes the feeling of doubt with a sigh. It goes on to say that when the story of this decision is told in the future, it will be the road less traveled that was chosen.

However, this poem is not titled the road less traveled; it is titled "The Road Not Taken". What Frost is trying to explain is that sometimes in life people have to make decisions without knowing what the outcome will be. How can someone know they made the correct decision? The poem is very detailed in describing both roads the same; there is no less traveled path to choose from. Frost is trying to communicate the remorse and curiosity of what could have been. What could the other road have brought?

The point is to seize the day and not wonder what could have been. Everyone is faced with decisions in life and no one knows what the outcome is going to be. There is no reason to second guess oneself, however it is painfully natural to do so


Frost, R. (1916). "The Road Not Taken". Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama,

and Writing, Page 610.



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