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The author encounters a fork in the road while traveling through yellow woods, according to the poem. He considers both roads and concludes that both seem to be attractive and suitable for transport. When deciding which direction to take, he makes a vow to himself that he will return and take the alternate route. Nonetheless, he realizes that he will not be able to return to the specific point because the path chosen will provide him with additional obstacles and choices. The poem ends with the poet experiencing a sentimental moment when thinking of how things might differ if he had selected the other path or rather the road not taken (Spikins 295). To understand the challenges faced by the poet, it is important to analyze the themes of choice and regret that the poem exhibits.
The poem’s main theme is choices (Orr 15). In the first stanza of the poem the poet asserts that “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,” (Frost 1, line 1) that introduces the reader to the challenge that he was facing and then in the first three lines of the second stanza, he states, “Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear,” (Frost 1, lines 6-8) to illustrate the choice that he had to make after spending a long time thinking about the road that he would use. He faced the decision of the road to use after coming across the fork whereby the roads took different directions. The poet illustrates regret with the fact that it was impossible for him to use both paths such that he stood along time in making a decision on the road to choose (Orr 15). He states, “And sorry I could not travel both/and be one traveler, long I stood,” (Frost 1, lines 2-3). One road appears to be preferable to him when reading the first and the second stanzas, but then in the third stanza, he perceives the roads to be similar or rather exhibit similar qualities for traveling. He asserts, “And both that morning equally lay/ in leaves, no step had trodden black,” (Frost 1, lines 11-12). He explains that he reconsiders his first choice and he encourages himself with the assurance that one day he shall return to that particular spot and use the path not taken. In the third stanza, the poet begins to show nostalgia on the choice made and hence resuming his initial feeling when trying to make a choice on the road to use. He shows regret after the realization that he might not get the opportunity of going back to that particular spot and use the path that he had not chosen. In the third stanza, he states, “Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back,” (Frost 1, lines 13-15). In the fourth stanza, he explains how the choice made will demonstrate the perception that he will have in future. He tells himself that when reflecting back over the past years, he will note that he had selected a road that was traveled by a few people and believes that he would have made a great difference in his life with the choice that he had made (Orr 15).
Another theme depicted by the poem is regret (Orr 23). After choosing the road that is less traveled, he gets back to a somber mood while reflecting on the choice made. The title of the poem clearly illustrates that the poet is in deep thought on the road that he had not chosen. In the fourth stanza, he encourages himself that when reflecting back over the past years, he will note that he had selected a road that was traveled by a few people and believes that he would have made a great difference in his life with the choice that he had made. However, he uses the word “sigh” to show that the road not taken is an issue that would have stuck on his mind from the moment he chose the other path (Orr, 23). He states, “I shall be telling this with a sigh/ Somewhere ages and ages hence,” (Frost 1, lines 16-17) with the assertion that he chose the road not used by many and hence making a difference in his life. In other words, even if he had decided to make a choice not made by many, he will still recall the choice that he had set aside.
As stated earlier, to understand the challenges faced by the poet, it is important to analyze the themes of choice and regret that the poem exhibits. The poet presents a scenario of conflict where a traveler has to make a choice between two paths that lead to different directions. From the poet’s perspective, the choice made will have a huge impact in his life.
Frost, Robert. The Road Not Taken, And Other Poems. 1st ed. New York: Dover Publications, 2012. Print.
Orr, David. The Road Not Taken: Finding America in the Poem Everyone Loves and Almost Everyone Gets Wrong. New York: Penguin Publishing Group, 2015. Print.
Spikins, Penny. How Compassion Made Us Human: The Evolutionary Origins of Tenderness, Trust and Morality. New York: Casemate Publishers, 2015. Print.
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