person walking through a forest

The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost
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The hesitation the speaker experiences in "The Road Not Taken" is similar to the hesitation we may go through when we want to take important decisions. How do we make up our minds?

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Scholars have long written that "The Road Not Taken " is purposely ambiguous. It allows the reader to think about their life and the paths they could take, particularly when they are faced with a difficult decision. The speaker experiences the hesitation we all may experience when faced with...

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Scholars have long written that "The Road Not Taken" is purposely ambiguous. It allows the reader to think about their life and the paths they could take, particularly when they are faced with a difficult decision. The speaker experiences the hesitation we all may experience when faced with a complicated decision. They seem to have this hesitation because each path seems mysterious; it is impossible to tell where they will lead, which often happens in life decisions as well. It is also difficult to choose only one path. The roads seem to fork from a single path, so the narrator can choose only one, not both, making this decision seem very permanent.

Most people would make up their mind by doing what the speaker did; looking carefully at their options and rationalizing the decision they end up making. Even though the speaker cannot see where each path ends, he observes the differences between them. One looks more worn down than the other, indicating that others have taken it, but the speaker chooses the path that was apparently taken less often (though he then admits it was really "worn ... about the same").

The speaker also implies that, in the future, he may look back on his decision to walk the path he chose and consider how it changed his life, as many of us might after we make a decision—whether or not we know if it really had any significance.

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