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What is the momentus decision taken by the speaker(poet) in the poem The Road Not Taken...

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v12321 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 17, 2013 at 6:43 AM via web

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What is the momentus decision taken by the speaker(poet) in the poem The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost?

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 17, 2013 at 11:30 AM (Answer #1)

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The speaker in Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken reflects upon life's difficult decisions. The speaker is not necessarily the poet himself and it is thought to relate to Frost's friend, Edward Thomas, himself a poet.  

The speaker must make a decision which is life-changing and which he may regret the moment he has made it. He therefore does not make his decision lightly or quickly and " long I stood" as he deliberates.

The decision is put off for as long as possible as the speaker explores the other option "To where it bent in the undergrowth" before finally deciding, whereupon he "took the other." He is relatively confident that his choice is "perhaps the better claim" but his self-assurance fades rapidly as he realises that, having chosen the presupposed lesser travelled "other"; in fact, "the passing there Had worn them really about the same" and he again doubts himself.

There is an attempt to console himself as the speaker decides that he can still explore the alternative and he has "kept the first for another day!" Again his insecurity returns and he  "doubted if I should ever come back."

This all reveals that the speaker is making what he feels is a "momentous" decision but his vague descriptions lead the reader to question whether the speaker doesn't perhaps stress over all decisions as if they are life changing.

At first the speaker must choose between two different paths along the road where "Two roads diverged in a wood." Having reached a fork where he can only take one direction or the other, he has great difficulty selecting. However, the decision made, he will recall in the future "with a sigh" that  he took" the one less traveled" which .....has made all the difference. "

 

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