In reference to the poem "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost, do you believe in making choices that are acceptable and less "risky" or ones which are adventurous, ambitious, and unconventional?

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In reference to the poem, there are no such adventurous, ambitious, and unconventional choices. This poem is popularly misread as advocating for choosing the "road less traveled," for making choices that are unique and adventurous; however, I would argue the poem's actual message is quite different, and quite a bit less inspirational. 

I believe the speaker tells us, essentially, that there are no unconventional choices. He says the second road is "just as fair" as the first, and though it was grassier and thus may seem a bit more pleasant, "the passing there / Had worn them really about the same."  In other words, the two roads have been traveled about the same number of times; they are "worn [...] about the same" amount because a similar number of people take each one. One is not substantially "less traveled" than the other, and they both lay "equally" on the day the speaker visits them.

In the last stanza, when the speaker says that, many years from now, he'll tell the story of taking the road "less traveled by / And that has made all the difference," he plans to lie. He is going to claim that he took the road that fewer people have taken, implying he made a unique and adventurous choice when, really, there was no such choice to be made. He will say that making such an unconventional choice has "made [...] the difference" in terms of his life's direction. Why will he lie? Because we all want to believe there are unique choices available, that we can be different and adventurous and unconventional and that our decisions are as important and momentous as we feel them to be. Ultimately, according to this poem, they are not.

In the end, then, this question about adventurous choices is unanswerable because, in reference to the poem, no such choices exist.

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The Road Not Taken

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