On "The Road Not Taken"
Most people believe that "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost was written to inspire people to be different, and to not follow the majority. However, the poem was actually written to gently tease one of Frost's good friends, and fellow poet, Edward Thomas. Frost and Thomas would take walks in the woods together, and Thomas would take Frost down one path and later regret not choosing a different path. This would lead one to believe that Frost is actually ridiculing the action of regretting decisions. Considering this pert nit background information, the poem's meaning can be quite contrary to popular belief. It guides the reader from the idea that Frost wants you to differentiate yourself, to a concept of perseverance and self confidence. Upon further analysis of the poem, more irony is unveiled in both the title and the poem itself Initially "The Road Not Taken" is quite stereotypical and inspirational in manner. At first glance the poem radiates a feeling that it's alright to take the road less traveled, and that good fortune may follow from making seemingly unorthodox decisions. Frost illustrates an idea of individualism in the last two lines, "I took the one less traveled by/ and that has made all the difference" (19-20). In the last stanza of the poem, the speaker explains that many years later he will tell the story of how taking the road less traveled has changed his life. Viewed from an analytical standpoint many examples of subtle irony can be found.
Frost's choice of words in the title is very peculiar. It seems as though Frost purposely chose the word "taken". If the poem was meant to be inspirational, "chosen" would be a better fit for the title. The word "chosen" would clarify that the decision was deliberately made to go a certain way. However the word "taken" makes it sound like there was no other option. Although a decision was made to take a certain path, it is ironic that Frost described both paths...
Cited: Lauter, Paul. The Heath Anthology of American Literature: Concise Edition. Boston:
Houghton Mifflin Co., 2004.
Wikipedia. 2004. Wikipedia online. 24 Mar. 2007
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