In his poem, "The Road Not Taken," why did Robert Frost choose "The Road Not Taken" instead of "The Road Taken?"

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Frost called the poem “The Road Not Taken” because the poem focuses on the road not taken, rather than the road taken. 

At the end of the poem, the speaker says when two roads diverged in a wood he “took the one less traveled by/And that has made all the difference” (lines 19-20).  The poem is about choosing a different route.  Therefore, the focus is on the effects of that different road.  There were too choices, but the one fewer people had taken was the speaker’s choice.  This is what made an impact in his life.

Oh, I marked the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way

I doubted if I should ever come back. (lines 13-15)

Sometimes we make a choice, and don’t look back.  Sometimes we think we will return to another choice later, but as the speaker points out, life gets in the way.  We mean to do things, but then we never go back.  We make a choice in all honesty knowing we may never get that chance again. Sometimes we don’t want to make a choice, but indecision is not an option.  You have to choose one.  Choose to go where others have not gone before, and that will definitely make an impact.


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