Explain why "The Road Taken" would not be a suitable title for the poem.

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

This is an interesting question because most people pay attention to the end of the poem, which talks about the road that the speaker did take...

To me, the reason why "The Road Taken" would not be a suitable title is because the "The Road Not Taken" adds to the meaning of the poem by emphasizing its contradictions and uncertainties.

The poem is talking about how all roads essentially are the same and we only convince ourselves that they are different.  The title of the poem interacts with the text to show us this idea more clearly.  The poem talks about the road the speaker did take, but the title talks about the one he didn't take.

This, to me, adds to the sense of ambiguity about the poem -- the idea that all roads are the same even though they look different to us and we think they are different.  If Frost had called it "The Road Taken," of "The Road Less Traveled" the title would make the poem seem more certain and less ambiguous.

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coachingcorner's profile pic

coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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The Road Taken would not be a good choice for the poem simply because it does not relate to the subject or theme of Robert Frost's poem. That title would not relate to 'The Road Others Took' or 'The Road More Traveled' which was the route rejected by Robert Frost himself - the road he chose turned out to be the right one - for him at least, it might not be for everyone. For him, the busier (safer?) one turned out to be the road that 'made all the difference.' Still, human beings are curious and always wondering about 'what might have been.' Many humans, perhaps even like Robert Frost, may wish they 'could have their cake and eat it' as the saying goes - and follow two different paths in life at the same time. This could apply to two different careeers, or even two marriage partners.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The premise of the title of "The Road Taken" lauds or praises the paths others take.  The essence of the poem is to stir up or galvanize support for the path others do not take.  In some respects, the speaker finds distinction and a sense of valor in doing what the road that others did not take.  In its description, the speaker highlights the significance in doing something apart from others.  If the poem is entitled "The Road Taken," this is lost because of the natural praise of doing what others did.  In the final analysis, if the poem is about the idea of making choices and being able to support the "paths" that others do not take, then the title of the poem of "The Road Not Taken" is quite appropriate.

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The answer to this question relies on your understanding of human nature. You are in twelfth grade now, making choices about what you will do after high school. Will you go to college?  Which college will you attend?  Will you get a job? What job?  No matter what road you go down, you will wonder once in awhile what would have happened if you had gone down another road.  It is a condition of human existence that we cannot, as the narrator points out, be "one traveler," and travel both roads at once. So, which road is of interest to the narrator and to us, the road traveled, or the road not traveled?   

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mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

"The Road Not Taken" is a poem by Robert Frost.  It is one of my personal favorite poems because it is about a person who makes the choice to lead his life different form the way he is expected to lead his life.  I believe that by using the title the "Road not Taken' the writer is conveying the message that he could have chosen the same ordinary road as everyone else.  He is talking more about what he chose not to do.  If he had titled the poem the road taken the reader would not focus on the two roads but rather remain focused on the road that he took.  He is better able to play from one road to the other.  This enables the reader to see the ambiguity a human often feels when trying to make a decision of which direction to take in life such as careers and marriage, etc.

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