person walking through a forest

The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost
Start Free Trial

In "The Road Not Taken," how do we justify our choices versus how the speaker justifies his in the poem?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In the poem, the speaker is presented with a choice between two roads. He is walking through the woods when he comes to a fork: one path goes ahead and eventually bends "in the undergrowth"; the other path is "just as fair" and attractive as the first, though it is "grassy." Ultimately, however, he says that "the passing there / Had worn them really about the same." in other words, about the same number of people have traveled each of the two roads, so neither one is more or less worn than the other. Moreover, no one has taken either road this morning, as both are covered in fresh leaves that "no step had trodden black." Therefore, the speaker has very little on which to base his choice, and he chooses the second road, the one that has "perhaps the better claim" because it is grassy, hoping to keep "the first for another day!" However, he says that, someday, he will tell other people that he took the road "less traveled" and that this has made a big difference in his life, but he has already told us that the roads are "worn [...] about the same," meaning that there is no road less traveled. Many of us might also look to determine if there is a less-chosen path, as we might prefer to be unique or unusual; however, this poem would seem to teach us that there is no such thing.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team