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Robert Frost: The Road Not Taken
Transcript of Robert Frost: The Road Not Taken
-Died January 29th 1963
-After his father died May 5th, 1885, the family moved to Lawrence, Massachusetts The Road Not Taken Analysis Questions In the Road Not Taken, Frost was able to hide many things in seemingly simple lines. They include-
-Extended Metaphor- The entire poem is actually referring to life decisions.
-Symbolism-The paths being described are not actual "physical" paths. They are the paths you take in life; the woods symbolize life and society and how they con obscure your view
-When the narrator talks about looking down the paths, it can be compared to trying to predict what would happen if you took either one, but there's no way you can actually foresee what will occur.
This poem was written about his friend, Edward Thomas. It was meant to mean that choice is inevitable and that you won't know what your choice means until you live it. This poem's purpose was not to moralize choice. Question 1~ What is the extended metaphor of this poem? -In 1894, he sold his first poem, "My Butterfly. An Elegy,"
for $15, which is $403 today.
-He married his wife Elinor Miriam White on December 19th, 1895.
-He attended Harvard University from 1897-1899 but had to leave because of illness.
-Before his grandfather died, he had purchased Frost and Elinor a farm in Derry, New Hampshire. Robert worked the farm for 9 years while writing some of his most famous works.
-He was unsuccessful at farming and returned to collge at Pinkerton Academy in New Hapshire to become an english teacher from 1906-1911.
-In 1912 he and his family moved to Great Britain but returned in 1915. -His first book of Poetry, "A Boy's Will" was published
-In 1924 he won his first of four Pulitzer Prizes.
-From 1921-1963 he spent almost every summer and fall teaching at the the Bread Loaf School of English of Middlebury College in Ripton, Vermont.
-In 1960 he recieved the US Congressional Gold Medal.
-On January 20th, 1961 at age 86 he read his poem "The Gift Outright" at the inauguration of John F. Kennedy.
-He died in Boston 2 years later from complications of prostate surgery. He is buried at Old Bennington Cemetery in Bennington, Vermont.
-During his life he wrote well over 100 poems, and among the most famous were "The Road Not Taken" (1916), "Fire and Ice" (1920), and "Birches" (1916) Question 2~What is the rhyme scheme of this poem? Are there ever any points in the poem when the author needs to use inversion to continue the rhyme scheme? Answer- The rhyme scheme is ABAAB; CDCCD; EFEEF;
GHGGH. In line 3, Frost writes "Long I stood" Question 3~What do the yellow woods symbolize? Answer~ The yellow woods symbolize life and society, and how the underbrush (confusion and unnecessary items in life) can obscure and cloud your foresight. Question 4~How does the mood of the poem change from the beginning to the end? Can you provide an example? Answer~ The first two stanzas exhibit the curiosity of the narrator ("And sorry I could not travel both" (line 2);"And looked down one as far as I could" (Line 4))
The last stanza shows the narrator feeling melancholy, but seemingly confident in his decision. Question 5~What does the narrator mean by
"Yet knowing how way leads to way, I doubted if
I should ever come back" and how does it apply
to life? Answer~ When the narrator says "Yet knowing how way leads to way, I doubted if I should ever come back," he is referring to how people cannot go back on their decisions. However, if they ever get a chance, they usually become distracted by something else or completely forget about the decision in the first place. Question 8~ Why is this poem titled "The Road Not Taken" but not "The Road Taken?" Answer~In titling the poem "The Road Not Taken," Frost is able to convey how the path in life you DON'T take is just as significant as the path you do take. Think about it, by taking one road, you are eliminating yourself from the lives of others on the path you didn't take, while at the same time appearing in the lives of the people on the path you DO take. In essence, you are altering the course of history by choosing one path over another. Question 6~ What do you think Robert Frost is saying about originality? Answer~Frost is saying that by making your own choice, it will affect the rest of your life. Following others will get you nowhere new or exciting, but being your own person will allow you to do things others never will. Question 7~ Frost himself writes that each path was equally worn. However, the narrator says he took the road less traveled. How do you think the narrator justifies this claim? Answer~The narrator can make this claim because he felt he made his own decision and didn't follow anyone else. Just by making his own decision, he's already strayed from what most others do, which is having others make their decisions for them. In line 16 where the narrator says they sigh is very
significant. It shows how they are looking back with anticipated remorse, but also confidence in their choice. Answer- The extended metaphor of this poem is that the paths are choices in life