Critique of Frost's "The Road Not Taken"

Topics: Choice, Stanza, The Road Pages: 4 (1249 words) Published: April 22, 2001
The speaker in Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" gives the reader insight into human nature with each line of poetry. While, Frost had not originally intended for this to be an inspirational poem, line by line, the speaker is encouraging each reader to seek out his or her own personal path in the journey of life. Romanticizing the rural woods of New England creates the perfect setting for the theme of self-discovery laid out and described by the speaker.

Robert Frost's original intent in writing the poem was not to convey the inspiration that it has for almost a hundred years. He had written the poem to poke fun at his friend, Edward Thomas, with whom he had taken many walks. Thomas was hesitant and always wondering what would happen if he had chosen a different path ( In fact, Frost sent the poem to his friend, then in France, and got the response, "What are you trying to do with me?" ( However, Frost did see the impact the poem was having and stated, "Do not follow where the path may lead…Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

The speaker communicates many things in the first stanza of the poem. The first line, "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood," uses imagery with the color yellow, the color of gold, to show that the speaker sees an opportunity ahead of him. The two roads symbolizes the choices and consequences he must choose. The next line, "And sorry I could not travel both," illustrates how difficult it is to make a choice. It is impossible not to wonder what could happen by choosing the other road and what he could be missing out on. "And being one traveler long I stood," shows how the speaker would like to be in two places at once. Unable to accomplish this, he takes a long time to decide on what he should do. Finally, the speaker describes studying the first option, looking as far into the future as he possibly could...

Cited: Baym, Nina, et. al. The Norton Anthology of American Liturature. 5th edition. Vol.II. New York: Norton, 1998.
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