Road Not Taken


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Road Not Taken Essay, Research Paper

Andy Fegley

Mr. Snyder

9/30/99

“The Road Not Taken”

Everyone is a traveler, choosing the roads to follow on the map of the

continuous journey of life. There is never a straight path that leaves someone

with a single direction to head. Regardless of the message that Robert Frost had

intended to convey, his poemThe Road Not Taken”, has left many

interpretations for his readers. It is one’s past, present, and his attitude with which

he looks upon his future. In any case however, this poem clearly demonstrates

Frost’s belief that it is the road that one chooses that makes him the man who he

is.

It is always difficult to make a decision because it is impossible to wander

what opportunity lies at the other end and what will be missed out on. The

narrator and also the traveler exemplifies this by saying “And sorry I could not

travel both”, in line two of the poem. There is a strong sense of regret even

before the choice of the path was chosen. This shows that in one lifetime, it is

impossible to travel every path which you are confrunted with. In an attempt to

make a decision, the traveler “looks down one as far as I could” (stanza 1, line 4).

The road he chooses leads to the unknown, as does any choice in life. As much

as he strains his eyes to see how far the road stretches, eventually it surpasses his

vision, to the point where he can not see where the road will lead. It is the way

that he chooses here that sets him off on his journey.

The traveler “then took the other, just as fair, and having perhaps the

better claims” (stanza 2, line 1). What gave off the better claim is that “it was

grassy and wanted wear” (stanza 2, line3). Obviously he wanted the path with

less wear because the majority of the other people took the other path therefore

calling it “the one less traveled by” (stanza 3, line 4). The fact the traveler

selected this path over the more traveled one, indicates the type of personality he

has. It is one that likes to be a leader and not a follower. This individual’s

personality is the type that likes to explore and expand beyond it’s limits. His

experimenting personality noticed the leaves that covered the ground. His

decision was made on which path he would take when he made the statement

since the time they had fallen “no step had trodden black” (stanza 2, line 7).

Perhaps Frost does this because each time a traveler comes to this point they have

to make a decision, something new, somewhere they have never been before. He

expresses the desire to travel both paths by saying “I kept the first for another day”

(stanza 2, line 8). However the speaker realizes his decision is a permanent

choice, “knowing how way leads on to way” (stanza 2, line 9). This is common

sense now that his choice will affect all of his other choices down the road in life.

Once again at the end of the poem the regret sets in, realizing at the end of

his life, “somewhere ages and ages hence” (stanza 3, line2) he changed the path of

his life, wandering what was down the other road, which he did not take.

However, he remains proud of his choices in life’s decisions and realizes that his

choice made him who he actually turned out to be.

The poem, “The Road Not Taken”, by Robert Frost has many valid

meanings. Depending on the reader of the poem it may be interpreted in a

different way or even misinterpreted at certain points throughout. He may have

been trying to achieve a universal understanding. In other words, there is simply

a traveler who makes a decision in his life that changed the direction of his life

from what it may have otherwise been.

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