The Road Not Taken Poem

Posted: November 30th, 2013





The Road Not Taken Poem


Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” is set during autumn when leaves turn color. He gets to a fork on the road of life where he must decide which way to take. Both ways are equally superimposed with fresh leaves therefore deciding which way to take becomes an uphill task. After looking at one of the diverged ways for a while, he decides to take the other, which to him was similarly worth following. He tells himself that he will have another opportunity to take the other road yet he is also aware that this is unlikely. In the future, he will claim that the decision he made was life changing.


The main theme in the poem is choices. Frost says, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood” (1) meaning the path he is taking is divided in two directions and he has to choose which path to take. Both roads are comparatively worthy but one seems less frequented than the other does. As much as he would like to travel both the oaths, he realizes that this is not possible. Deciding on which road to take is not easy as he spends sometime weighing both options. He says, “Long I stood and looked down one as far as I could” (3, 4). He finally decides to take the less-trodden road, which makes a difference.

The writer says, “and sorry I could not travel both” (2) meaning that at some point the writer felt that both roads were attractive. He vacillated between thinking that both roads were the same and settling on the second choice as the better one. Frost indicates that he made the right choice by choosing to follow the path that he did as that decision would affect the rest if his life. He proves by saying, “and that has made all the difference” (20).These paths also represent the choices he has to make about his life. Something was happening in his life that obliged him to make a decision and this choice had outcomes as indicated in the last stanza.

The theme of choices also reflects that making decisions is human nature and human beings are always faced with situations where they have to make choices (Gibbs 190). Some of these choices are made after long deliberations, as portrayed by Frost. The different choices that are made by human beings have divergent impacts on their lives. Decision-making involves meticulous examination of all options and the likely outcome. Sometimes decisions are made without consultations and influences and this displays independence in one self. Frost decides on his own when he says, “I took the less one traveled by, and that has made all the difference” (19, 20).


            Frost expresses himself in the poem as one who overcomes challenges through decision-making. The setting of the poem, use of imagery and other poetic devices clearly bring out its main theme of choices. Decision-making is never easy in any give situation and life is full choices and Frost demonstrates this in his carefully arranged stanzas starting from the fork-on-the-road to the decision itself (Frye, Adam and Wilson 412). Life-changing choices are hard to reverse and the writer acknowledges this fact when he admits that he might not have another opportunity to take the other path. Even after taking the less-trodden path the writer believes that he had made the right choice as it says in the last line “and that has made all the difference” (20). Frost does not however reveal to the readers what difference the choice made.

Work cited

Frost, Robert. The Road Not Taken, Birches, and Other Poems. Claremont, Calif: Claremont Canyon Press, 2010. Print.

Frye, Northrop, Joseph Adamson, and Jean Wilson. The Secular Scripture and Other Writings on Critical Theory, 1976-1991. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006. Print.

Gibbs, Raymond W. The Poetics of Mind: Figurative Thought, Language, and Understanding. Cambridge [u.a.: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2002. Print.



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