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The Road Not Taken: Examining the Themes

Robert Frost’s poems operate much like a puzzle box – a complicated structure that forces one to go deep to discover the precious hidden truth. His universally appealing poem, The Road Not Taken, with its apparently beguiling title, justifies the above observation with thorough earnestness. Beneath the garb of narrating a commonplace event, as the indecision encountered by an individual on stumbling across two divergent paths in a “yellow wood,” it involves a short but poignant discussion about life and the choices we make, and how they affect us in the long run. The themes as such, do not remain confined to a particular situation; they expand and encompass grave truths, forcing the reader to rethink and form his own conclusion.

The Themes

The Importance of Making a Choice

Life cannot simply be straightforward or with an absence of turns and twists. It is certain that we would at some time or other confront a confusing juncture when the need to arrive at a suitable resolution is of paramount relevance. The poet attempts to bestow the reader with a glimpse of such a phase in life with the “Two roads” employed as a metaphor to define that significant crossroad of life’s journey, when we are compelled to make a particular choice, disregarding the other.

The Need of being Speculative

The poet, before settling upon a particular decision, undertakes a comprehensive survey of both the roads that lie before him. In other words, it is his insistence of selecting the one that is grassy that perhaps hints at the way we are required to judge situations in life.

It is important to note that this gesture  might not hold good always, for the poet contradicts his assertion immediately after the above observation regarding the road’s condition, as he goes on to say,

“Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same.”

Thus, he points at the vital truth that life is, in fact, more complex, definitely unpredictable at times than we presume it to be.

Moving Ahead by Accepting Risks

Keeping his individualism intact, the poet envisions, how taking the road “less traveled by” has caused “all the difference.” Now, there is no suggestion of what “the difference” is or whether it is a harmonizing one. However, one thing is sure; his not coming back to explore the other path, thereby indicating the worth of proceeding in life without repentance.

Life is Just an Exploration

Eventually, what the poet perhaps attempts to uphold, is the essential fact that we should progress in life, reveling in its sunshine and rain, never holding a grudge or regret.

You may read the summary and detailed analysis to have a better understanding of the poem.

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Technology... is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other.
~Carrie P. Snow