Explication of “The Road Not Taken”
Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken”, 1920, takes the reader on a walk with the poet through a wood. In the poem, a man, who is thought to be Frost, comes upon two paths and is forced to choose between the common path and the path that has not been taken. Not knowing where these paths will take him, Frost worries he will make the wrong decision. He finally decides to take the path that had not been taken. In order to dramatize the conflict Frost faces, he utilizes rhyme, imagery, other minor literary elements, and theme throughout the poem.
Primarily, Frost’s rhyme scheme is quite unique. The poem contains four stanzas which all exemplify an abaab rhyme scheme. For example, the first line reads, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood”. The last word in that line rhymes with the last word of the third and fourth lines, which read, “And be one traveler, long I stood. And looked down one as far as I could.” The second line states, “And sorry I could not travel both”, which rhymes with the fifth line that reads, “To where it bent in the undergrowth,” (Frost). This same pattern is found throughout the entire poem.
In addition to rhyme, the poem thrives with imagery. For example, in the first line, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,” the readers almost feels as if they are walking through the wood with the man. Another example of imagery can be found in line twelve, which reads, “In leaves no step had trodden black,” (Frost). The reader can easily visualize freshly fallen leaves that had not been disturbed by people walking through the woods.
Moreover, other literary elements that are relevant in Frost’s poem are personification and repetition. Personification is presented in line eight, which reads, “Because it was grassy and wanted wear.” Living creatures can only want something, and by saying that the path “wanted wear,” the poet utilizes personification. Frost also uses repetition in lines eighteen and nineteen that...
References: Dabbs, James McBride. Robert Frost: Poet of Action. The English Journal, Vol. 25, No. 6. Urbana, Illinois: National Council of Teachers of English, 1936. Print.
Frost, Robert. The Road Not Taken. Poets.org. Academy of American Poets, n.d. Web. 19 March 2013.
McGriffert, John. Something in Robert Frost. The English Journal, Vol. 34, No. 9. Urbana, Illinois: National Council of Teachers of English, 1945. Print.
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