The Choices We Make: Examinig "The Road Not Taken"

1070 words - 5 pages

The Choices We Make: Examining “A Road Not Taken”

Aaron J. George

31 July 2011

English 102

OUTLINE

I. Thesis Statement on A Road Not Taken

A. Regret or satisfaction

B. Choice and consequence

II. Theory about the meaning behind the poem

A. Second stanza

B. Traveler and his options

III. The setting of the poem

A. Emotions experienced

B. Unknown future

IV. The title and its interpretation

A. Simple or complex title

B. Ulterior meanings of the title

V. Making the choice

A. Living with the choice you made

B. Having the guts to choose

The Road Not Taken is a simple, ...view middle of the document...

It is important to note that after reviewing many opinions about the poem on Yahoo, Sparknotes and Enotes, the same theories abound. Most feel the poem infers that life is not easy, but if you work hard, then good things will happen for you. In my opinion, this stance is incorrect. When read carefully, the second stanza states that both roads are worn the same and that neither appear to have been traveled in some time, due to the leaf litter covering each road, which when disturbed, will turn over the decomposing leaves to expose a “trodden black step” as described by the author. Therefore, Frost is actually stating that there is seldom a clear choice, only a choice granted by the wisdom of previous life experience.

The setting in this poem is a literal setting, placing the protagonist in a “yellow wood” among two roads from which a decision must be made.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both

It seems to put a melancholy mood into the mind of the lone traveler, for his choice will render an outcome that he cannot foresee. It poses a tough choice, with a sense of apprehension and frustration because he does not know what either road has in store. There is regret in the travelers’ mind even before the choice is ever made. He takes solace in the knowledge that it is impossible to venture down both roads. Cautiously considering his options as he examines each road in detail, the man ponders where each path might lead. The poem uses the latter as a symbol of the unknown future. Both roads will take unknown twists and turns and though the traveler still looks ahead into the distance with consternation, he must still formulate an, at-best, educated guess based on life’s previous choices:

And be one traveler, long I stood.
And looked down one as far as I could

The setting represents choices in life, as well as the consequences of some of those choices. It shows that a setting seemingly as simple as the fall woods is not...

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