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The Road Not Taken

This paper is an analysis and evaluation of Robert Frost=s lyrical poem, AThe Road Not Taken.@ This poem takes a very simple moment and turns it into a speculation about choices made and opportunities missed. This is a theme that is universal, expressing a longing to know what might have happened simply by having taken a different road to travel in life.

Frost uses a very simple allegory for his reflection. Literally, all that has happened is that a traveler, walking in the woods, has come to a fork in the path, chosen one direction over the other, and continued on his way.

Figuratively, however, that fork becomes the symbols of all the major decisions each person makes in life: to pursue an education instead of traveling to Europe, to marry or to remain single, to have children or to choose a particular career or to buy a house or to move to another country. Life is a series of forks in the road, and choosing one direction to travel means passing up the possibilities of the other road.

Certainly, Frost notes, some choices are not so dramatic. He acknowledges that he could always come back to this crossroad another day and walk down the other path then, but, he observes, AKnowing how way leads on to way,/I doubted if I should ever come back@ (638).

So, Awith a sigh,@ he concludes that he will never know what might have happened if he had made the other choice, what adventures he might have encountered, how his life might have changed: AThat has made all the difference@ (638). He ends on a wistful note, reminding his reader that every choice has consequences, and every choice eliminates some possibilities. Every road not taken leaves the traveler with regrets for what might be missed by taking a different path.

The title emphasizes this regret. Although the final line, AAnd that has made all the difference@ (638) might be interpreted as hopeful, it is counterbalanced by the title=s focus on where the writer did...

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The Road Not Taken. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 22:05, July 01, 2022, from