AP English 12 – Dufault
The Road Not Taken Explication Question #1
In the poem The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost explores the tough decisions people have to make throughout life by comparing it to choosing which road to take in the woods. He declares that even though the two roads show different signs, they are the same. Through diction and imagery, Frost explains that despite the uncertainty of the future, one has to choose a path without looking back.
Frost uses diction to demonstrate the similarities and differences between the two roads. Phrases such as “long I stood” and “looked down one as far as I could” show the hesitation and curiosity one has when anticipating the future. In the second stanza, the diction changes to show the equality of the two roads; by using phrases such as “as just as fair” and “Had worn them really about the same.” In the third stanza the narrator tries to take both paths, by choosing to take one today and save the other for another day, suggested by “I kept the first for another day!” However, he realizes that realistically it is unlikely to go back, as noted by the line “I doubted if I should ever come back”. In the final stanza, Frost uses phrases such as “I shall be telling this with a sigh” and “And that has made all the difference” to explain that once one chooses a path they will always wonder what the outcome of the other path could be and whether it would be better or worse.
Frost also uses imagery to contribute to the overall theme of the poem. “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood” sets the setting of the poem. The woods symbolize the idea of being lost and wanting to find the right way to get out. The two paths symbolize the options that are presented to a person who is lost. The person ultimately wants to take the road that gets them out of the woods, but does not know which is the right road for the task. The second and third stanza present imagery that describes the roads and...
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