Personal-Response Criticism of “The Road Not Taken’
Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” incites a personal response from the reader to help them think critically of the work. This type of criticism allows the reader to relate to a literary work. As Muller and Williams explain, “…critics hold that we construct meanings from what we read based upon our own individual experiences, our cultural background, and the “community” within which we operate.” A reader is able to relate to “The Road Not Taken” because Frost includes a very real and relevant message; life is about choices.
The reader, when first reading this poem would be able to easily think that this is just a simply a poem about a man walking in the woods. It is not until the reader reaches the final few lines (specifically lines seventeen through twenty) in the final stanza.
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
These final lines open up a different opinion the work to the reader and thus, allow the meaning to be known. As the reader takes time to reread and review the poem they will easily be able to see the message about life being full of choices.
In the critical mind of this work, the response of the reader is a personal life experience response and that is how the reader will relate to the poem itself as a whole. All readers are human beings and being a person choices are made in everyday life big or small. Frost also includes a hidden message that is, as a person you could always continue to make the same choices and thus have a continually repetitive and stagnant life. Or you could follow a road not taken and discover a new aspect of life and yourself, but you need to take that first step.
Relating life to literature is a way for people to share their stories and experiences. Robert Frost tells the reader a story about choices in “The Road Not Taken”. He is able to tell the reader how the man in the woods feels...
Cited: Frost, Robert. “The Road Not Taken” ENG 200: Composition and Literature. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011.
Muller and Williams, ENGL 200: Composition and Literature. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011.
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