By Eric - 3:52 AM

I heard this poem already but my interest hadn't dictated me to search nor read the piece.Until,I got the chance to read it on my students vocabulary book as it was printed.The poem, despite its last lines, where the narrator declares that in choosing a road, taking the "one less traveled by" "made all the difference," can be seen as a declaration of the importance of independence and personal freedom.
According to Wikipedia, “Popular explanation of this poem is that it is a call for the reader to forge his or her own way in life and not follow the path that others have already taken.”
"The Road Not Taken" is a poem by Robert Frost, published in 1916 in his collection Mountain Interval. It is the first poem in the volume, and the first poem Frost had printed in italics.
Frost claims that he wrote this poem about his friend Edward Thomas, with whom he had walked many times in the woods near London. Frost has said that while walking they would come to different paths and after choosing one, Thomas would always fret wondering what they might have missed by not taking the other path.
About the poem, Frost asserted, "You have to be careful of that one; it's a tricky poem - very tricky." And he is, of course, correct. The poem has been and continues to be used as an inspirational poem, one that to the undiscerning eye seems to be encouraging self-reliance, not following where others have led.
But a close reading of the poem proves otherwise. It does not moralize about choice, it simply says that choice is inevitable but you never know what your choice will mean until you have lived it.

The Road Not Taken
(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
Hand worry 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

This poem is usually interpreted as an assertion of individualism, but critic Lawrence Thompson has argued that it is a slightly mocking satire on a perennially hesitant walking partner of Frost's who always wondered what would have happened if he had chosen their path differently.
What evidence can you find in the poem to support each of these views?

his poem is tricky—very tricky. But only if we are not careful readers. If we read into poems claims that are not there. And in this poem, it is important to be careful with the time frame. When the speaker says he will be reporting sometime in the future how his road choice turned out, we have to realize that we cannot assign meaning to “sigh” and “difference,” because the speaker himself cannot know how his choice will affect his future, until after he has lived it.

  • Share:

You Might Also Like