The Road Not Taken – By Robert Frost

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 kept 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.

 

The Road Not Taken is a poem about crucial decisions people make throughout their lives and the doubts they have after deciding as these decisions are the one which has really made the difference in theirs. These people always ask themselves a question are they satisfied with their choice? Or haven’t they missed something by making a wrong decision in life? Could their life have been different may it be good or bad if they had made another choice?

In the poem, the speaker stands in a yellow wood during the fall (the yellowing color of the leaves indicates the season). The road diverges into two paths and the speaker has to make up his mind which road to choose. These roads symbolize the same road in which way stand in our life where we make important decisions of our life. The decision is again not easy at all as he stands there for a long time and he goes through all pros and cons of his decision. He wishes in his heart that he could take both roads, however, he knows it’s impossible. He examines one of the roads and tries to see where it leads, but he can’t since it bends in the undergrowth. Similarly, we also don’t know where our life will take us as our destiny is also not known to us. Because it doesn’t matter what road we take we will always be sorry for the one we did not choose. Finally, the speaker chooses the other road which looks as attractive as the first one, but it seems only very few have dared to choose it– “it was grassy and wanted wear”. He chooses the less conventional road, the with more adventure and it implies that he wants to do something different and wanted not be like the others. The speaker asks himself if the result is not in his favor can he return one day and take the other road, but somewhere in the heart knows that once he chooses one way, it will lead to another and then another. Therefore, it is unlikely that he will ever go back to the road he has not taken. The poem ends with “I will be telling this with a sigh”. The word sigh implies that the poet is not happy with the decision he has made and is regretting it, or it could be a sigh of satisfaction and happiness which shows that he is pleased with his choice. The speaker knows the difference is being already made by choosing the road less traveled upon. It had a great influence on his whole life. Any decision a person makes in his life is explained by metaphor choosing of the road. Once a person makes up his mind, it is impossible to go back to the starting point and make another decision. And it is for sure we cannot go back start it all over but we can begin from where we have ended. And even if one is satisfied and happy with his choice and has no regret, he will probably continue wondering about the road not taken, about that road’s promising call.

Robert Frost, when decided to become a poet, took “the road less traveled by”. He chose the not so common way of living life which was certainly not an easy to walk on the path. As a poet, he suffered many ups and downs in his early age. And only at an older age, he became successful and got recognition for his literature work. Frost knew from his own experience how difficult it was to make such a decision? And then choosing the less conventional way of life that doesn’t guarantee success or satisfaction or happiness.

Picture Courtesy: Ethics and SpiritualitySu’eddie in Life n Literature – WordPress.com

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