Context or Content?
“The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost has many different interpretations and meanings. The most effective way to understand these is to understand the diction Frost utilizes. His specific word choice and sentences all lead the reader to his meaning. Many critics believe analyzing Frost’s life will add deeper insight into the poem’s theme; however, each has looked too deep and has provided overanalyzed ideas. Although, multiple critics claim that examining Frost’s context is the key to understanding his message, it is the poem’s content and diction that reveal the poem’s deeper, and more valuable meanings. “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost is a closed-form poem that follows an ABAAB rhyme scheme in the first paragraph without interlocking rhyme in the rest of the three stanzas. Published in 1915, this poem emphasizes powerful statements of choices in literal and figurative terms, providing the poem with a strong tension of saying versus suggesting. Frost, in first-person, writes of the dilemma of which of “two roads diverged”(Frost Line 1) he should choose. He describes the nature of the roads, wrestles with this decision, finally makes his decision, and ends the poem with a reminiscent evaluation stanza of his decision. Frost, in the first stanza describes a traveler during autumn, in a “…yellow wood,” who comes across a fork in his path and does not know which road to choose. The second stanza explains that the traveler has chosen one road “… perhaps [with] the better claim” (7) which he will take. Frost also describes the two roads as “worn ... about the same” (10). In the third stanza, the traveler decides that he will keep “ ... the first for another day” (13) in one line, then, in the next, the narrator states that this would be doubtful. The last stanza depicts the traveler explaining with a “sigh” (16) that he took the road “less traveled”(19) which “...has made all the difference” (20). The first line of the last stanza reads, “I...
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