The Road Not Taken Poem Explication
Robert Frost is an excellent poet and will be remembered for his works for as long as they exist. Personally Robert Frost is one of my favorite poets, so when I saw this poem, I had to use it to write my explication. When I read The Road Not Taken, it really hit close to home to me. I get the sense from Frost that he is implying that he doesn’t want people to conform to society.
Basically he does not want us to follow a path just because most others have chosen that path. Most importantly in the poem, Frost leaves us with the theme of having to choose a path in which we have no knowledge of where it will take us. We can all relate to this especially my self because I had the same type of decision to make when it came to picking a college. Frost wants us to be different and to make decision for ourselves in life. I feel he wants us to be independent people who make our own future.
Throughout this explication, I am going to explain the themes and meanings of each line of the poem and how those themes contribute to the overall meaning of being different and making your own decisions without the influence of others in which Frost implies to his readers. Robert Frost constructed this poem in four stanzas in which each stanza has five lines. He also uses the rhyme scheme AABBAAB, which you will see expressed throughout the poem and explication. From reading this poem and acknowledging the rhyme, I almost got a disgusting and sad feeling.
I think Frost did these just to show how serious that his message in this poem really was. You also get the sense from Frost that he is flashing back to this particular event in his life from reading the poem. Also in my opinion, it feels like there is a somewhat somber mood or tone throughout Frost’s poem. Frost begins the poem with the line “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,” which I feel Frost is introducing us to a decision that he must make through imagery and symbolism, which in this case, the two roads are symbols for the decision that we must make as human beings in life.
Frost then says “And sorry I could not travel both. ” Frost is saying here that in life we have to make decisions in which we have to make a choice. It is either one or the other, and this really applied to me when it came to college because it was either go off to GCSU or stay home. But that’s just me. It also seems to me that frost wishes and feels disappointed that he could not take both roads because he says “sorry” at the beginning of the line. In the next line, Frost says, “And be one traveler, long I stood. What Frost is saying here in my opinion, is basically that he really pondered and thought about his decision for a long time. It is almost like Frost is giving us the idea that we need to take a long time to make and think about major decisions in life, so that we can make the right decision for ourselves. Frost is basically just telling us to be patient when making big decisions in life. Frost in the next line then says, “And looked down one as far as I could. ” I think here Frost is saying that he is studying one of the choices as best he can and getting as much information about this choice to help him make a decision.
The next line then states, “To where I bent in the undergrowth;” Frost is using imagery here to describe the choice in which he only knows so much about this particular choice. Frost does not have a lot of information about this choice, and he expresses it very clearly in his poem when describing the road bending into the undergrowth. It seems to me that he can not see the future of this path, and that he has to take a major risk when choosing his path. In the next stanza Frost starts with saying, “Then took the other, as just as fair. Frost is basically saying that he reviewed and thought about this choice equally to the other choice. He uses the word fair to prove that theory, and although he does not go into as much depth as the other choice, he is still implying that the two roads or paths are equal. Thus leading me to believe, that Frost is basically saying that the outcomes of each of the choices are equally fair as well, but that is just my opinion. He then says, “And having perhaps the better claim,” in the next line. This is somewhat symbolic and ironic.
This is symbolic in which the road less traveled that has the better claim and less wear is equal to the path in which is not chosen by most in society. It is somewhat ironic because it is not most traveled and successful, and Frost decides to take this road later in the poem. It is ironic because we all would expect somebody to take the most popular road because honestly life has come down to popularity. I hate it, but it is true. He took the road less traveled which was the least popular road, and I really respect him for that, but I’ll get into this more later on.
Frost then describes this choice through imagery by saying in the next line, “Because it was grassy and wanted wear;” He is describing this road in which it is very grassy and there is little to no wear on this road. He makes it very clear through his imagery that this is the road less traveled. Frost again uses imagery to describe each choice when he says, “Though as for that the passing there, Had worn them really about the same. ” He is saying here in my opinion that both paths or choices are almost equal when it comes to outcome and success.
He also uses some diction in this instance when describing the similarity of both paths or choices. Robert Frost begins the next stanza leading up to his decision by saying, “And both that morning equally lay, In leaves no step had trodden black. ” To me he is saying that in the day he made the decision both choices and paths were almost identical and that this decision could not be made primarily off of the look of both paths or choices. Also he uses what appears to be a sad, dark word choice or diction when he uses the word “black.
It also could fall under the use of dark imagery because as a reader it really put me in a quiet, somber mood. In the next line, Frost says, “Oh, I kept the first for another day! ” In my opinion, Frost is saying here that he took the second road with the better claim, and the road that was less traveled with the least wear. I also get the sense in this line that if his first decision does not work out for him, that he can always change paths if he fails. The next line says, “Yet knowing how way leads to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. Frost is saying here that by taking this path, other opportunities and decisions will come up, and take him to different places and times in life. I feel that Frost is using repetition by saying, “way leads to way,” because he is putting an emphasis on the fact that more opportunities are going to come up that will distance him from where he began. Because of that he feels that like he may not be able to come back to the other choice and that this decision he is making is truly life altering and life changing. It is almost like he feels that there is no turning back for him.
Frost begins the last stanza by saying “I shall be telling this with a sigh, Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood,” Frost uses repetition and symbolism here when saying, “ages and ages hence,” to warn the upcoming generations that they will one day encounter tough decisions that are life changing, and that they will have to make difficult decisions in life and in the future. Frost uses symbolism in which he is comparing ages to ages to the upcoming generations. He puts a huge emphasis foreboding that we are going to have to make decisions in life.
He also has a very soberest tone and mood in these lines. It is almost like he feels bad that everyone in their lives must make decisions like this. It almost seems to me like he feels he made the wrong choice himself, but that is not the case because Frost then says in the next line, “and I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. ” What I get from this line is that the line is almost symbolizing how not following the crowd really makes a difference in life, and it appears that being yourself and doing what you want to do is what really makes you happy and successful in life.
This poem really hit home to me because in my opinion we must all face choices and decisions in our lives. We are all going to come upon these roads that Frost talks about. It is inevitable, and through tone, imagery, and word choices. His poem was almost spot with the decision I had to make on college. I definitely approached those two paths, and I just like Frost, took the road less traveled. In the case of my family, that would be leaving home and going off to school, but I think I made the right decision.
Either choice I made, I am almost certain that my life would end up just the same as it is now. With that knowledge it was a risk I was willing to take. So with analyzing and thoroughly reading Frost’s poem, I have really learned a lot and been able to apply the situations in the poem to instances in my life. This is definitely one of my favorite poems, and I Frost’s opinion of not conforming to society and making our own choices. I love it, and I honestly feel that we are better off doing what we want to do. To me that is the only way in which we can truly be happy without any doubts.