person walking through a forest

The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost

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How does the poet use symbolism to describe the directions?

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In "The Road Not Taken," a well-known poem written by Robert Frost, the possible choices that a person may make in life are represented by a fork in the road he travels.  One path, "the one less traveled by," is described as "grassy and want[ing] wear"; the narrator tells that he looks down that he

looked down [the other] one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth[.]

In the end, the narrator realizes that taking the road that few others have chosen "has made all the difference."

The grassy, untrampled appearance of the second of the two choices of paths, is symbolic of a choice that few have made.  It indicates that taking that path means choosing not to follow the popular decision.  Had the traveller taken the first of the two paths, he would have done what most others did; he would simply have made the decision because it was what appeared to be expected.


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