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The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

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yasmin masoudi

on 11 April 2014

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Transcript of The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Poem
"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost
Robert
Biography
1874 - 1963
Born in San Francisco
Attended Dartmouth & Harvard, never graduated
Moved to England in 1912 with his family
Returned to America when WWI began & launched career
Experienced many tragic events, mental illnesses were common in his family
Summary
Speaker is faced with 2 identical roads
Unsure of which to take, tries to find differences
Promises to return and take the other road as well
Tries to justify his/her decision
Analysis
Conne
Literary
Theory
Frost
ction
Central Theme
The "right" choice does not exist.
Two identical roads, only differentiation is caused by speaker's perception
Our decisions are the ones that shape us, not the other way around
Voice
Speaker
Older person reflecting on his/her decisions
"ages and ages hence"
First person point of view
"sorry" / "doubted"
Tone
Regretful
Not satisfied with the decision
Tries to convince people otherwise
"Sorry I could not travel both"
"I shall be telling this with a sigh"
Structure
Narrative
Character, conflict (internal), plot, setting
Setting:
a forest during an autumn morning
"Two roads diverged in a
yellow wood
"
"And both
that morning
equally lay"
Closed form
4 stanzas, 5 lines each (quintain)
Each stanza represents a step in decision-making
Decision is presented, choices are analyzed, decision is made, thoughts are described afterward
Meter
Two
roads
| di
verged
| in a
yell
|ow
wood
, (
A
)
And sorry I could not travel
both
(
B
)
And be one traveler, long I
stood
(
A
)
And looked down one as far as I
could
(
A
)
To where it bent in the
undergrowth
; (
B
)

Then took the other, as just as
fair
, (
A
)
And having perhaps the better
claim
, (
B
)
Because it was grassy and wanted
wear
; (
A
)
Though as for that the passing
there
(
A
)
Had worn them really about the
same
, (
B
)

And both that morning equally
lay
(
A
)
In leaves no step had trodden
black
. (
B
)
Oh, I kept the first for another
day
! (
A
)
Yet knowing how way leads on to
way
, (
A
)
I doubted if I should ever come
back
. (
B
)

I shall be telling this with a
sigh
(
A
)
Somewhere ages and ages
hence
: (
B
)
Two roads diverged in a wood, and
I
— (
A
)
I took the one less traveled
by
, (
A
)
And that has made all the

difference
. (
B
)
Variant of iambic tetrameter
Includes anapestic meter
Strays off course, comparable to what the speaker claims to do
Rhyme Scheme
ABAAB rhyme scheme
2 possible sound paths
End rhymes are masculine
Final line is an exception
Emphasis on "difference"
Why do you think the speaker would choose a road that's less traveled by?
Sound Devices
Alliteration
"Because it was grassy and
w
anted
w
ear"
Draws attention to personification
Allows the line to flow smoothly, appeals to listeners
Assonance
"
A
nd th
a
t h
a
s made all the difference"
"Though
a
s for th
a
t the p
a
ssing there"
Flows easily, brings focus to the other road
Other road becomes appealing as well
Emphasizes outcome of narrator's decision
Contrast of nice sounds with the regretful tone
Figures of Speech
The two roads symbolize the choices we are forced to make in life
Destination of the roads is unknown, similar to the outcomes of our decisions
Personification
?
Do you think taking every decision seriously is beneficial or detrimental? Why?
"Because it was grassy and
wanted wear
"
Roads are inanimate
Incapable of expressing desire
Bridges the gap between symbolic roads and the thoughts of a conscious being
Hyperbole
"Somewhere
ages and ages
hence"
Exaggeration of a period in time
Expresses ability of regret to stay with you for incredibly long periods of time
Visual
Imagery
Used to establish the setting
"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood"
"And both that morning equally lay / In leaves no step had trodden black"
Comparable to New Hampshire's autumns
Common inspiration for Robert Frost
Describes the two paths for justification
"it bent in the undergrowth"
"it was grassy and wanted wear"
Auditory
"I shall be telling this with a sigh"
Sigh of regret
Disappointment becomes audible for the audience, allows for a closer connection
?
What is the significance of the poem's title?
("The Road Not Taken")
Metaphor
The Deconstructionist Critical Approach
Undermines the stability of text
Texts are self-contradicting
Meanings are relative, not absolute
Title: "The Road
Not
Taken"
Ambiguous, can refer to 2 situations
Regret about not taking the other road
Justifying the choice of a road that is "less traveled by"
"I shall be telling this with a
sigh
"
Sigh of relief
Satisfied with his/her final decision
"
A
nd th
a
t h
a
s made all the
difference
"
Assonance can signify comfort or a soothing feeling
"Difference" represents a binary opposition; helps us define something by what it is not
Possibility of a mocking tone
Determinism
For every event, there are conditions that could cause no other event
Would the narrator have been in the same situation if he had taken the other road?
Philosophically interesting!
Full transcript