In "The Road Not Taken" there seems to be no real definitive way of choosing a path, so how would one know the right path? It seems that if there is no definitive way to choose then the choice...

In "The Road Not Taken" there seems to be no real definitive way of choosing a path, so how would one know the right path? It seems that if there is no definitive way to choose then the choice wouldn't really be that important.

Expert Answers
thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You are correct in saying that in Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" the narrator suggests that there really was no good reason to choose one path over the other. There is one phrase in particular, "Had worn them really about the same," which emphasizes that there really was little to choose between the two paths and that they did look about the same. 

The point of the poem is precisely that. Often, we are confronted with choices that seem equivalent when we are in the process of choosing, but which, in retrospect, we realize were important. There are two issues here.

The first is that fairly trivial choices might have big consequences. For example, one might choose to take the 9:30 rather than the 10:30 section of a class, an academically unimportant choice, but in that class meet a person one marries. Fifty years later, looking back, that simple choice of class time had a transformative impact on one's life. 

There is also a second, metaphorical level to the poem. Frost himself chose to be a poet rather than a doctor or journalist or lawyer. Thus we can think of the less traveled road as suggesting unusual or uncommon rather than traditional life and career choices. 

litgeek2015 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You said there is no definitive way to know which path to take, and in a sense, that is one of the main points of this poem. When faced with two nearly equal paths, which one would you choose and why?

While this literally may make no real difference in the poem, the poem is a metaphor for the decisions we make in life. The crossroads in the poem represents the many different crossroads we face in our real lives. For example, in real life a person might be faced with two different, yet seemingly equal job opportunities. Perhaps they both pay well and the person is just as interested in both. The person must still choose one of them and might always wonder what would have happened if the other job had been chosen. How might life be different? Would the person have been happier in the other job?

The decisions we make in real life, often at those crossroads, are important. Some are more important than others. Although the decision in the poem is not important in itself, the "what if?" feeling that the poem is trying to capture is very reminiscent of the real life choices we question.

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The Road Not Taken

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