Do you see a recurring theme in Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" & "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening"?  I see one being "The journey can be just as important as the destination." If you...

Do you see a recurring theme in Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" & "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening"?

 

I see one being "The journey can be just as important as the destination." If you don't have a recurring theme (or message shared between the two poems) what are your thoughts / can you provide any more details on the theme I stated? Thanks!

1 Answer | Add Yours

accessteacher's profile pic

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

Posted on

Whilst I do think there are recurring elements in these two excellent poems, I have to say that I do not agree with your proposed statement as it stands. I do not see how the statement "The journey is as important as the destination" is relevant to either poem, though I can perhaps see a tenuous link to "The Road Not Taken." In my thinking, if I were to compare the themes of these two poems, I would want to analyse the role of regret and how it is presented in both of them.

Note how in "The Road Not Taken," the regret of the speaker is concentrated in the last stanza:

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--

I took the one less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference.

We see how the symbolic meaning of the poem, the different decisions that we have to make in life and how once made, we are unable to go back and see where a different decision would have led us, haunts the speaker uncomfortably. Note the reference to how the speaker will be telling this "with a sigh." The thought of what could have been and where he would be now if he had taken that other road in life fills him with regret.

Likewise, in "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" the regret is focussed in the last stanza too:

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

Note how the repetition of the last line focuses the attention of the reader on the feeling of regret that he is unable to stay in the "lovely" woods and his feeling of reluctance concerning the "promises" he has to keep and how that drives him to leave the woods. Clearly, symbolically the desire for rest or death is symbolised in the woods, but the various demands and responsibilities of life are represented by the "promises" that the speaker needs to keep. His regret though is signalled in the repetition of the thought of the "miles" that lay before him before he can "sleep."

I hope these ideas help. Of course, you might find another link between the two poems that you might want to write about. Good luck!

We’ve answered 318,975 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question