A Road Less Taken Essay, Research Paper
Choices made in “The Road Not Taken”
Everyone is a traveler, choosing the roads to follow on the map of their continuous life. A straight path never leaves speaker with one sole direction on which to travel. Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” is about how the choices affect speaker’s life. Frost illustrates speaker to make a difficult decision about choosing one of two equally promising roads to travel on. When speaker comes to a fork road, a decision needs to be made. Both paths are different and choosing the right one will depend on his past experience. It is this way that he chooses to decide where he is going to travel. Throughout this poem, it is obvious that decisions are not easy to make, and each decision will lead him down a different road to travel. In any case however, this poem clearly demonstrates Frost’s belief that it is the road that speaker chooses that makes him who he is.
Speaker had two roads to choose from and wonders what would have happened if he had taken the other road. The poem begins with simple sentence, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,”(1) as the speaker sees two roads before him and obviously he cannot travel on both at the same time. He tries to consider the consequences as he “looked down one as far as I could.”(4) However, each road “bent in the undergrowth”(5) as where each road obviously different. It is unclear to him what the consequences would be if he chooses either road. Frost states “And sorry I could not travel both,”(2) that shows the point in which speaker will choose only one path in which to travel on. It is always difficult to make a decision, because it is impossible not to wonder what will be missed out. There is a strong sense of wonder before the choice is made because he knows that in one lifetime he cannot travel down on every road. In an attempt to make a decision, the speaker “looked down one as far as I could”(4). The road he chooses leads to the unknown choice in life. In the first stanza, the emphasis is on the road that was not traveled, but he cannot “and be one traveler”(3) on both paths. The speaker has a difficult choice to make and is carefully considering his options, but he must choose one of the roads to travel.
The second stanza shows the difficulty of making choices. The speaker tries to differentiate one road from another as he describes one road as “having perhaps the better claim”(7). Here he tries to make an excuse for choosing this road over the other “because it was grassy and wanted wear.”(8) However, in line 10 he confesses that both roads are, in fact, not different at all “as for that passing there had worn them really about the same.” He takes the other road that is “grassy and wanted wear;”(8) indeed, the road he chooses has a “better claim” because it is the road that is less traveled on. By taking this road, a clue to Frost’s personality is exposed. He is the type of person that wants to try something new and different. He makes the choice based on who he is and what choices he has made in the past. This choice might again change his life and bring him new experiences.
In the third stanza the speaker realizes he has to make a decision soon, because he just cannot stand there forever. However, he still cannot decide which one of the roads to travel on. The leaves that cover the ground have not been stepped on and “no step had trodden black,”(12) indicates that no one has traveled down the road since the leaves haven fallen. “Oh, I kept the first for another day!”(13) The speaker anticipates he has more time to decide. His reason for this indecision is that “knowing how way lead on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.”(14) He knows that once he makes a decision there’s no turning back. This is where the reader makes his choice. Here, he knows he is bound by that choice. He wants to hold on to the other possibility, but knows this cannot be possible. His choice becomes the road taken; therefore, the choice he did not make becomes “The Road Not Taken.”
It appears that the last stanza is written long after he makes his decision. He looks back and regrets his decision, “I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence.”(16) He again makes an excuse why he chose this particular road as he “took the one less traveled by” even though; in line he admits that both roads are really the same. The speaker seems to be content with his choice, yet he tells it with a sigh. He is resolving himself to the fact that even when “ages and ages” pass, he will still wonder what if he had taken the other road. He will regret being unable to go back and travel down the road he did not take. It was the path that he chose “that has made all the difference” that makes him who he become and to live his life the way he lives; however, with only one regret that he could not travel both paths in his life.
The title of this poem “The Road Not Taken” refers to the choice speaker did not make. All people make mistakes, but we must move on and learn from them so we will not make the same mistakes again. This poem is about choices because of our inability to travel on both paths at once in one lifetime. The speaker made his difficult decision to travel on this road and change his life. Each choice that we make plays out differently in our lives. We can look back and wonder what would have happened if we choose differently. Each choice affects who we are, and one choice in life can change everything.