what is the theme of the poem --"the road not taken"  

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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In "The Road Not Taken," there is a theme that involves choices. The speaker comes to two roads and has to make a choice. As the title would reflect, the speaker is still thinking about the road he did not take. The road is a reference to the journey of life. The speaker is on a journey and when he comes to a fork in the road, he has to make a decision as to which road he will travel. Looking back, the speaker is wondering what the road he did not take may have held for him.   

This poem can be interpreted to be a reflection about a choice one has made in life. The speaker may even regret that he did not take the other road for he tells it with a sigh:

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:

The speaker realizes how "way leads on to way" and that he will probably never return this way again. The speaker sighs and states that he is "sorry [he] could not travel both" roads. There is a sense of sadness at not being able to take both roads. But life is about choices. Sometimes the choices are difficult. The speaker realizes that he may one day regret the choice he has made. Truly, the poem is about the other road, the road not taken.

Ultimately, the speaker claims the road he did take has made all the difference. In this line, the reader can only hope that the difference made is for the better.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 

anna95s's profile pic

anna95s | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) eNoter

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    The lines in the poem, “The Road Not Taken”, underline the meaning of choices in life. “As just as fair”, “really about the same”, “equally lay”-these are the lines that symbolize the equality of choices people have to make. It emphasizes the fact that although people consider the opportunity costs in making choices, there is actually no difference between the choices at all. He did not “[take] the one less traveled by” because he wished to try something new; he took it because nobody else can take it once his choice is made..

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