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The Road Not Taken

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by

Sofia Covalschi

on 1 October 2013

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Transcript of The Road Not Taken

The Road Not Taken
The Road Not Taken
Stanza 3
The poem consists of four stanzas with five lines each. The rhyme scheme is ABAAB.
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.
1 Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
2 And sorry I could not travel both
3 And be one traveler, long I stood
4 And looked down one as far as I could
5 To where it bent in the undergrowth;
11 And both that morning equally lay
12 In leaves no step had trodden black.
13 Oh, I kept the first for another day!
14 Yet knowing how way leads on to way
15 I doubted if I should ever come back.

16 I shall be telling this with a sigh
17 Somewhere ages and ages hence:
18 Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
19 I took the one less traveled by,
20 And that has made all the difference.
The speaker stands in the woods during autumn, considering a fork in the road.
Both ways are equally worn and covered with untrodden leaves
He chooses one, telling himself that he will take the other another day. Although he knows it is unlikely that he will have the opportunity to do so.
Context
Published in 1916 during WWI, during his stay in England
One of Robert Frost´s most known poems
About his friend Edward Thomas, with whom he had walked many times in the woods near London.
While walking they would come to different paths and after choosing one, Thomas would always fret wondering what they might have missed by not taking the other path.
Robert Frost
Stanza 1
Robert Frost
(1874-1963)
American poet, born in San Francisco
After his lack of success in the american poetry world, he moved his family to England, where his first poems were published
Lived most of his life in the countryside (he was a farmer)
He married and had four children
His father died when he was 11
Line 1-3
Yellow: fall. Represents the fact that the persona is arriving to the end of his life (winter), so he must not reflect on the decisions he has to take for too long, even though these could have important consequences.
Speaker regrets he can not travel both roads
He has difficulties to decide which road to take
Metaphor: the fork in the road, represent the decisions a person affronts in life.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
Line 4-5
The persona of the poem looks down on the path, but can only see as far up to the first bend
Metaphor: refers to the the decisions he has to choose, trying to think about the consequences on his future
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Stanza 2
6 Then took the other, as just as fair,
7 And having perhaps the better claim
8 Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
9 Though as for that the passing there
10 Had worn them really about the same,
Line 6
Then took the other, as just as fair,
After looking down one road for a long time, he takes the other
He was choosing between two roads (or metaphorically speaking, two futures) that were potentially equally good
Lines 7-8
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Stanza 4
The poem is an extended metaphor of the journey that a person experiences during life, exploring choices and their consequences in life.
Content
This title hints that the poem is about lost opportunities, and the difficulty of making decisions, not just choosing the path that is fresh and new.
The speaker is uncertain about his choice
Explains that it is perhaps better because it is less traveled by.
Line 9-10
He is again uncertain, and says that both roads are equally worn
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
Line 11-12
It is morning, nobody walked the road yet.
Both paths are equal and covered with the same amount of leaves
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Line 13
The speaker is again regretting his decision but tells himself he will come back and take the one he missed later.
Exclamation mark
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Syntax
Inverts word order, to show the difficulty of taking decisions
Line 3: "Long I stood", instead of "I stood long"
In the last stanza, changes from past tense to future tense.
Diction
Simple and concrete word choices
Creates imagery by using words as "yellow wood", "grassy", "black"
Line 16-17
Change from past tense to future tense
Shows that the choice will be important in the speaker´s future
Creates mystery, future is uncertain
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Line 18
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
Repetition of the first line of the poem, brings the poem to a conclusion.
Emphasizes the concept of choosing between two different paths, that will have an impact in the speaker`s life.
Hesitation of "and I" and the dash. This lets us know that whatever the speaker is about to say next is important.
Line 19-20
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Stretches the truth, he was not sure it was less traveled by.
The path he took made an important impact in his life, that could be positive or negative
Form
Line 14-15
Thinks it is not likely that he will come back, because the path (that represents life) is twisted and unknown, and maybe he will never find his way back.
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
Full transcript