Robert Frost’s poem “Road Not Taken” is metaphorically written to relate to self-hood; Frost makes his poem sound as though he is about to take a stroll through the woods. Turns out, these so called paths/roads are not actually roads. In fact, they are paths in life and Frost is stuck in a minor predicament when coming to choose which path he should take. After taking a long hard look down both paths, he ironically takes the road less traveled. During the second and third stanza, Frost mentions that both the paths had actually looked Just about the same, which comes to a standing argument- how did he choose the better path?
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Reading along, toward the end of the poem, Frost pretty much says that he has no regrets, content with his decision of taking the second path. Under some context, it is tricky to understand how he ultimately chose the right path for him, making Frost’s poem confusing to many readers; two men each wrote their opinions in articles on the Road Not Taken, which may provide better information on this poem. Their names are Frank Lentricchia and Mark Richardson. Lentricchia considers Frosts’ poem to be an analogical landscape poem and mentions how Frost makes it seem that this poem is a fireside poem.
Richardson views Frosts’ oem a little differently; he finds this poem to be ironic and comical, but yet further into his article he is able to share the serious matter in this poem. The moral point of not only “The Road Not Taken”, but Lentricchia and Richardson’s articles, is that in life we have important decisions to make and these decisions make up a large part of who we are as individuals. When first reading Frost’s poem, it was difficult to understand what exactly the rationality in his decision of which road to take was. After reading it a few more times and hearing lectures in class, the poem slowly began to make more sense.
Frost metaphorically is writing about a walk in the woods by using nature as symbols to represent life; which is
Page 2 Robert Frost’s Road Not Taken: Lentricchia Essay
considered an analogical landscape poem. These two paths that he comes across are actually two separate paths he can follow in life. He takes some time to analyze which path he truly feels comfortable choosing, because there would be no turning back after the deciding factor. The first path appears to be mediocre, nothing too spectacular; unlike the second path he has for an option. Frost claims that the second path seemed more delightful because it appeared to less ravel by, making its appearance brighter and colorful.
As Frost makes his way down the path, he begins to realize that both the paths were Just about the same; with this being said, readers can make the assumption that he really feels that his decision didn’t really matter. This is where Frost becomes confusing, because he claims he was actually quite content with his decision. Lentricchia and Richardson really focus in on this factor- both asking the question on how was it actually a CHOICE if in the end, both roads were the same? make a difference in Frost life? The two articles reflect these questions; the two entlemen have different arguments regarding the poem itself.
The two men both make strong arguments in their articles; Lentricchia believes that Frost made readers believe he is making a rational choice when really, he didn’t; Richardson starts his article by saying that the poem and its title “Road Not Taken” is ironic and comical, but with a serious matter to it. Lentricchia. Lentricchia begins with saying that the poem overall was a typical find your-self and embracing that “self-hood moment” type of poem which gives the idea to readers that this is considered fireside poem.
It is important for readers to know this isn’t a fireside poem because fireside always ends the poem as a happy ending; and in this case, there wasn’t necessarily a happy ending. Frost throughout the poem was vague with the information he provided about both the roads, and never indicated how the second path was a better choice. Lentricchia is contradicting when he keeps his readers focused on how this poem is considerably a fireside poem; he believes the last stanza represents the happy ending, because Frost had claimed the path he chose made all the difference in his journey.
Lentricchia is contradicting because he agrees that Frost did have a choice, yet, he is still making arguments reflecting how Frost doesn’t provide a rational reason with his decision of taking the second path, and even states that fireside poems are demanding; those type of poems demand expectations with textual differences- but there were none. \ Richardson has different arguments and focuses more on the irony in the poem than Lentricchia had done. Though the two men did have some similar agreements, Richardson thinks that Lentricchia misinterpreted Frost’s point.
Richardson wraps the rticle around the choices people make and the actual significance the choice has in everyone’s life. He begins with saying that not only the title but the poem itself is ironic and comical. Richardson argues that the title and poem is ironic because Frost claims he took the better path, because it was less traveled; but what if the other path was the better choice because everyone took it, leaving the road less traveled to be not quite as good.
Going back to what Lentricchia stated, saying the Frost never provided evidence showing that the road less traveled was actually a better choice. Richardson continues on how he thinks that the poem is ironic, because he looks at the second and third stanzas in the poem, and sees that Frost had noticed that both the paths are really about the same; readers can still question the rationality in the choice Frost made. Though Richardson does point out the humor and irony the poem gives out, Richardson does explain and agree with the serious matter exploited in the poem.
The serious matter being although Frost didn’t really have a rational reason at the very moment he chose the second path, eventually the decision would give him an outcome in the end. Aside from the decision making in the poem, Richardson compares the decision Frost made with decisions/choices people make on a daily basis. Without realizing, humans make choices in everything they do and though most of the time no one really analyzes these decisions as rational or irrational.
Richardson takes this and continues his argument that Frost did have a rational choice, because at the end of the poem in the last stanza Frost had said taking the road less traveled made all the difference for him in his life; he had felt content with The two men had strong arguments in their articles, but Richardson gives a clear nderstanding on how Frost structured his poem. The point of “The Road Not Taken” was to see the beauty of Frost’s choice in taking the path he took.
When first reading the poem, it was hard to understand what important choice Frost made by taking the road less travelled. Then reading Lentricchia’s article and feeling better that Frost did lack giving textual evidence proving that the road less travelled was a greater choice. Still, that did not help the understanding of the choice; meanwhile, Richardson had given his readers an understanding of how everything in life is based off of choices.
Human’s choices are what make life; actions and decisions is the road that unfolds as life goes on, and no one recognizes it until they stop at a destination. This destination is the breaking point where a person will realize whether they are happy, sad, mad, content, etc. , and looking back they will be able to see how they got there. Richardson was able to help readers understand that Frost was trying to make the point to his readers that acting and deciding, which means making choices, are rational because eventually it will bring significance to life.
Which brings the conclusion that there was indeed a choice that Frost needed to ake the morning he went to walk down the two paths, and though he didn’t give textual evidence showing what made the road less traveled a better option- Richardson clears up that every choice is an unfolding path in life and we consciously or not make our own path. Thus clears up the confusion in the last stanza when Frost claims the road less traveled made all the difference; at first the question we had was what the rationality in his decision? The answer: the choice he made had him feeling content by the end, making the road less traveled the better option.See More on Rationality