- Term Papers, Book Reports, Research Papers and College Essays

The Road Not Taken

Essay by   •  March 29, 2011  •  Essay  •  687 Words (3 Pages)  •  882 Views

Essay Preview: The Road Not Taken

Report this essay
Page 1 of 3

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.

However, it is also possible to read it as an ironic statement against such notions [1]. Frost is said to have written the poem as a sly joke on his friend Edward Thomas, and to have warned audiences, "You have to be careful of that one; it's a tricky poemÐ'--very tricky."(see notes at: [2]). Frost and Thomas were two of the Dymock Poets who met and wrote together in the village of Dymock, Gloucestershire, England during a brief period leading up to World War I. The woods around Dymock, where the two poets walked were carpeted with wild daffodils (hence the "yellow wood") each spring. Thomas was keen to show his American friend the local views and flora, but had a habit of regretting the routes he had chosen for their walks. Frost is quoted as saying that Thomas failed to recognize himself as the subject of the poem as the irony had been handled with too much subtlety.

Although this poem is often cited as a source for inspiration and encouraging individuality it contains key contradictions and ambiguities. For example, lines 9-10 state, "[t]hough as for that the passing there/Had worn them really about the same". So, even though it is often read and taught that the speaker chooses "the one less traveled by," the speaker of the poem contradicts himself by saying the roads were ultimately the same. This is further illuminated in line 11's declaration that, "And both that morning equally lay" (emphasis added).

The misreading that the speaker takes "the one less traveled by" is the first of two popular misinterpretations. According to Frost, the key to the poem is found in line 16, "I shall be telling this with a sigh". Also, the ambiguity of the closing lines, "I took the one less traveled by, /And that has made all the difference." A close reading of this highly anthologized poem must admit that the speaker leaves the reader wondering whether the speaker means his choice has made a good or bad difference in the speaker's life. Also, why is the speaker telling it with a sigh?

One might, looking at the title ("The Road Not Taken"), come to the conclusion that he sighs because in retrospect, he wishes he had taken the other road, thinking his life may have been



Download as:   txt (3.8 Kb)   pdf (93.8 Kb)   docx (10.2 Kb)  
Continue for 2 more pages »
Only available on
Citation Generator

(2011, 03). The Road Not Taken. Retrieved 03, 2011, from

"The Road Not Taken" 03 2011. 2011. 03 2011 <>.

"The Road Not Taken.", 03 2011. Web. 03 2011. <>.

"The Road Not Taken." 03, 2011. Accessed 03, 2011.