Have you ever asked yourself “will this decision affect my future?” Generally, people would respond yes, but there are actually only a few people who would think about the consequences of a decision and what could happen down the road. That person may make a choice that’s so small, but can make an unforeseen difference in the end.
Robert Frost was able to grasp this cathartic question and describe it in his beautifully written poem “The Road Not Taken.” Frost writes about a time back when he had to make a life changing choice, to take the road less traveled or to follow the path others have taken, which his decisions made the audience ask the questions “was his choice right?” and “why did he choose this path?” In “The Road Not Taken,” Frost uses symbolism to depict the decisions that a person makes within their lifetime to portray the importance of making wise decisions.
Frost’s use of symbolism portrays an image for the audience. In the line “two roads diverged in a yellow wood,” paints a picture in the reader’s mind of the author facing the problem to choose between two choices (Frost). We are then told by Frost that the two roads are almost identical when Frost wrote “both that morning equally lay in leaves no step had trodden black,” which symbolizes similar choices we have to make in life which could have different possible outcomes (Frost).
Everybody wants to have it all, the best outcome with the biggest gain, but there are always the pros and then there are cons that have to be weighed. Frost took a look at the first road, but did not go down that path. Then he tried to make himself feel better by saying he left the other road for another day.
When Frost is referring to the two paths that he comes across, they not only represent the choices in life that we must make, but that we must make those choices alone. During the fall season, most people are not usually traveling in the woods alone , which shows isolation of the author. When you are alone it exhibits your true character and when Frost chose the road he did show that, knowing he made a mistake, it symbolizes how people act when they tend to be alone and are faced with a quick decision.
The road’s symbolism is clear because when Frost wrote ‘how way leads on to way,” it shows certainty that he will never return or look back and go down the other road (Frost). This is also true about life as Brown explains “the choice confronting the speaker symbolizes all of life’s choices”(Brown, 2007, p.12) . A decision often leads to more impactful decisions and we, as readers, need to remember that we can not return to where we were before making those decisions.
Frost is confronted with various significant choices he should make all through his stroll in the forested areas, which symbolizes his life and our lives as readers. There is always the “what if” question that rings a bell when settling on a significant choice. Various choices lead to various fates. Frost can’t perceive what lies ahead. He is left with baffling considerations on the grounds that even what he can see isn’t typical.
Neither one of the paths has a bit of leeway and he doesn’t care that an obvious choice can’t be made, however he despite everything must settle on a decision on what path he will take. He tries to make himself think the second road has the advantage, which is shown when Frost says that it “was grassy and wanted wear” (Frost).
Savoie states even though he described the two roads the same, ”how can the speaker have chosen the road less traveled when by his own admission, the two roads are just as fair” (Savoie, 2004, p.7)? Frost comes up with a reason to choose the road less traveled, even though there was no explanation of why he chose that road, it can be implied that the best decision is not always the one that the majority of other people make. Decision making takes time, especially in this life-changing event for Frost.
Every possibility must be weighed before he makes his decision. He stared down the first road trying to see what was all down the roads by ‘look[ing] down one as far as [he] could” (Frost). Frost is attempting to see all the positives and the negatives that lie ahead. The explorer is unmistakably being pulled in the two headings. At that point the second way is utilized as the more clear view. The author utilizes alliteration here to enable the audience to key in to the expression “wanted wear”. The less traveled path that the traveler ends up taking is because of the grassy area and physical looks.
Frost shows a sign of regret. Not the entirety of the choices made in life must be obviously observed totally. The speaker demonstrated that the choice made could have been off-base and he thought twice about it. When Frost expresses “I shall be telling this with a sigh,” he believes that he made the wrong decision in which path he took. There are two important details that suggests he did regret his choice, which is the quote about him sighing and the other is the title of the poem “The Road Not Taken.”
The title implies that Frost will never stop thinking about the path which he didn’t take and how things could have turned out if he did. He understands that he will never return to walk the road that he didn’t take. The speaker feels that when he thinks back on the journey he made, that he actually took “the road less traveled” and only made the choice because of his duplicity as Vujin explains “he may pretend that the road he took was the one less travelled by and that his non-conformism made all the difference, but he knows – and we know – that this is a lie” (Vujin, 2011, p.198) . Frost will later realize that the choice he made really made a big impact on his life.
The author’s utilization of metaphors enables the readers to zone into a period of picking between two educational encounters. Frost proceeds to utilize metaphors to analyze decisions that must be made in the travelers excursion all through the wood. Every decision the traveler makes can prompt various results and outcomes which could be fortunate or unfortunate.
In the first line of the poem the author utilizes a metaphor to show that two decisions that the explorer must choose from “two roads diverged in a yellow wood”(Frost). Obviously, Frost does not literally mean that there were two literal roads in front of him, but instead the author is implying that individuals will always face choices. The author then goes on to explain the two roads he “looks down” and describes one in a metaphor as well by saying “where it bent in the undergrowth”(Frost).
Here, Frost shows that based on his restricted view, he can not decide on his choice since he can not clearly observe the two streets. The traveler at that point inspected the second road as ‘choice b’ and felt that this road was less traveled, therefore at last deciding to not be a follower. He clarified that the other road might be “the better claim because it was grassy and wanted wear,” which was basing his decision off of the looks and views.
”Grassy and wanted wear” is a metaphor that is stating that this decision in life gave the impression of being uncommon, and therefore got the traveler’s attention. Later on the author goes on to show that both roads were the same in the use of this metaphor “both that morning equally lay in leaves no step had trodden black”(Frost). The leaves represent a previous option in the choices he must make. The line shows that not very many people have traveled this road, so it takes the advantage over the other path.
In conclusion, the poem is extremely reflective and shows an life lesson on how life has a various amount of decisions. The poem itself is a metaphor and a life lesson that clarifies choices one must make. There are always impactful choices that will affect someone for the rest of their life. The poem ”The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost is about an impactful moment where that one choice changed his life. In the poem, and in life, sometimes one must let faith or fate take over. Each choice in life has its pros and cons and there will consistently be consequences, good or bad, in light of the fact that all choices will affect your life here and there.
- Brown, Dan. “Frost’s ‘Road’ & ‘Woods’ Redux.” New Criterion, vol. 25, no. 8, Apr. 2007,pp.11–14.EBSCOhost,search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=24632290&site=ehost-live&scope=site.
- Finger, Larry L. “Frost’s ‘The Road Not Taken’: A 1925 Letter Come to Light.” American Literature, vol. 50, no. 3, 1978, pp. 478–479. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/2925142.
- Frost, Robert. “The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost.” Poetry Foundation, www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44272/the-road-not-taken
- Savoie, John. “A Poet’s Quarrel: Jamesian Pragmatism and Frost’s ‘The Road Not Taken.’” The New England Quarterly, vol. 77, no. 1, 2004, pp. 5–24. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/1559684.
- Vujin, Bojana. “I Took the Road Less Travelled By: Self-Deception in Frost’s and Eliot’s Early Poetry.” Annual Review of the Faculty of Philosophy / Godisnjak Filozofskog Fakulteta, vol. 36, no. 1, Dec. 2011, pp. 195–203. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=73347905&site=ehost-live&scope=site.