Deceptive Simplicity in Frost's Poems

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"In Robert Frost poems the simple images and themes are interwoven into a complex pattern of provocative ideas and observations" (Robert Frost: Selected Poems). When you read one of Frost's poems for the first time, you may think that the poem is straightforward and easy to understand. However, if you attempt to analyse each line and stanza in detail, you will realise that most words in the poem are metaphorical and hold connotative meanings. I will attempt to expand on this point through analysis of Frost's The Road Not Taken and Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.

According to Dana Gioia: Frost Complete at Last, "His particular genius was to create a poem that convincingly argues two opposing views at once." The Road Not Taken contains two conflicting ideas, that is, the title leans to the possibility of the path the speaker could have taken or the path that he did take; the ‘less travelled' road (line 19). On the surface, the traveller embarks on a journey and eventually comes across a fork in the road. He has to make a decision and chooses the path which ‘was grassy and wanted wear' (line 8), claiming he will take the other another day. However he realises he may never return because ‘knowing how way leads on to way' (line 14), the other road may be forgotten. This summary will be sufficient to some readers, that is, those who tend not examine beyond the surface of the poem.
This poem suggests a deeper meaning than just choosing one path amidst numerous options. I agree with Robert Faggen when he says "it is an ironic commentary on the autonomy of choice in a world governed by instincts, unpredictable contingencies, and limited possibilities and reminds us of the consequences of the principle of selection in all aspects of life, namely that all choices in knowledge or in action exclude many others and lead to an ironic recognition of our achievements." During life‘s journey, we all have to make decisions and may do this depending on our past...
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