I'm having trouble focusing on the overall theme in "The Road Not Taken". I can't seem to zone in one what it is exactly. I'm writing a paper about how the imagery/symbolism in Frost's...

I'm having trouble focusing on the overall theme in "The Road Not Taken". I can't seem to zone in one what it is exactly.

I'm writing a paper about how the imagery/symbolism in Frost's poem develops his theme, but I keep discussing what the imagery in the poem is.

Asked on by dangsurf

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renkins44's profile pic

renkins44 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

Think of it in the way of a conversation. You say to someone, "Frost uses symbolism to convey the consequences and contemplation involved in decision-making. For example (you give the specific, cited evidence from the peom)." The other person says, "What do you mean by that?" Your response to their question is analysis. It really is that simple. Analysis is your own ideas instead simply saying what has already been said.

Good luck and reply back with some of the work you've done if you'd like some feedback on it.

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renkins44's profile pic

renkins44 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

First, consider what is being "symbolized." Did the narrator literally walk down a road and then choose a path? Probably not because Frost wants the reader to consider significant life decisions. For example, you graduate high school and you can go to a college that will train you to be a tax auditor or you can go to a different college that will train you to be a chemical engineer. That is a significant, life-changing decision to make. One of them may appear to be a less travled "path" than the other. In the narrator's case, he chose the "path less traveled." However, the most controversial part of this poem is the ending where Frost writes, "And that has made all the difference." At no point did he write that it was a difference for the better or worse; it is for the reader to decide.

Therefore, it can be said that Frost uses symbolism to convey the consequences and contemplation involved in decision-making.

The sentencec directly above would be a good thesis assertion/topic sentence. For the next sentence, cite the specific line when Frost uses the symbol. Lastly, use the rest of the paragraph for analysis. Most students have a hard time with analysis and end up summarizing instead. From your question, it seems like your struggling with the same transition.

(con't. on next response)
dlbetts77's profile pic

dlbetts77 | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

To figure out the theme of a poem, you need to understand your author. Theme itself is the author's main message. It is the underlying, hidden message that he/she wants you to figure out.

Try getting into Robert Frost's head. Look at several of his poems and see if you start to see a trend. I know that a lot of his poetry deals with nature.

 When you find a common theme, take the poem line by line. I have students write the meaning of each line or retell the line in their own words. Look at all the lines and find your common thread.

Once you have figured out what he is saying, then go back and look at his imagery. If you have the poem on cd, play it to yourself while closing your eyes. What do you see? This helps give you a sense of imagery.

Finally, connect your dots. Think of what you saw and relate it to what you read.

Try the links below for more information! Hope this helps!

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