Symbolism, Imagery, and Theme in The Road Not Taken
The Road Not Taken is told by one person - there is no designation as to sex, station in life or age. This person has come to a crossroads in their life and has two options to choose from. The place in this poem is a fork in a path in a forest, and time is not specified though it could happen today, so it would be considered a contemporary piece. The premise of the poem is that the subject faces and then makes a life decision. Symbolism and imagery are used effectively to reinforce the theme throughout the poem.
One instance of symbolism in the first stanza is "And looked down one as far as I could / To where it bent in the undergrowth;". This symbol shows to me that the person who needs to make this life decision is trying to peer into the future to see what the outcome would be if he takes a certain ...view middle of the document...
" These lines say to me that the writer has led a satisfying life. That he did chose wisely and although it wasn't necessarily an easy life, it was fulfilling for him and he is proud of the choices he made.
Imagery was also used in the poem. I found that the yellow in the first line represented that the future the writer was facing was bright and warm regardless of his choice. The undergrowth was, as undergrowth in any forest, damp and dank smelling, but not necessarily unpleasant, just something that the writer would have to face. The image of traveling through a forest also brings to mind thoughts of birds in flight, chirping and singing. Squirrels dashing through trees, rustling leaves and dropping the occasional acorn or nut also create an image of sight and sound. The sun reflecting through the trees, casting shadows and creating pockets of warm and cool air and the occasional breeze stirring through the trees are also brought to mind by this poem. The end of the poem brings to me images of an older person, sitting in a rocking chair, perhaps by a fire, telling his story to his grandchildren. It is a warm, comfortable room with life's souvenirs on shelves and tables. A cat sits in his lap, purring contentedly while being petted, and the smells of pipe smoke hang in the air. It is an image of prosperity and contentedness earned through honest and good living.
The theme or "message" of this poem is that the path of least resistance is not always the most rewarding. I searched for an idiom or quote on the Internet and finally realized that the quote I was searching for is contained within the poem itself: "I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference." It is an ideal held by most people that the successful and satisfied people of the world are not afraid to take a more difficult road and march to a different drummer. This is exactly what the character in this poem did by not choosing the common path through life, and in the later years of his life, he or she had the satisfaction of knowing that the choices made where the correct ones.