Explication of Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken
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.
- Robert Frost (1874-1963) In the poem titled 'The Road Not Taken' by Robert Frost, Frost describes an old man reflecting on a choice he had once made. This is a narrative poem, comprising four stanzas of five lines. In the poem, the poet suggests that a decision can change your life as it has far-reaching, significant consequences. Frost tells us that choices are extremely important. At the beginning of the poem, the speaker regrets that at some point in his life he could not take two roads, and had to be limited to one road only. He tried his best to see what was ahead on one of the roads he could have taken, but there were limitations as the road turned and disappeared in the bushes. Frost uses a ABAAB, CDCCD, rhyme scheme: For instance, wood, both, stood, could, undergrowth from stanza one. In the second stanza, the poet emphasizes that the other road was grassy and less traveled and, therefore, he consciously took that road. He stresses that it was perhaps better, but, not much more than the other road. In the third stanza, the poet again portrays both roads as covered in leaves that had been walked on very rarely, to the extent that the leaves covering them had not turned black because of tramping of feet. He also asserts that he continued on the road he chose and that he already knew the fact that one thing leads to another and so he wondered if he would ever return to the other road. Finally, in the last stanza, he illustrates that he will tell his story to others when he is much older. He would tell others that he had the choice of taking one road over another and the road that he chose, has made a big difference in his life. Frost has beautifully added the element of color while developing the theme. The picturesque description of yellow wood suggests the fall season when leaves turn colors. Colors and seasons have their own interpretations and reflect different emotions as they are frequently associated with different stages in people's lives, such as spring for youth and autumn for late middle age. So it is safe to conclude that this is the 'fall' of his life or he is possibly around middle age. Since he has had enough experiences to realize how important some decisions can be, he accepts that he must live with the consequences. The simple idea 'The leaves are not trodden black' efficiently