person walking through a forest

The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost
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What are the poetic devices used in "The Road Not Taken" and what do they mean in the context of the poem? Specifically, how do they enhance the comparing and contrasting between the two roads?

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In "The Road Not Taken," Frost uses imagery as the speaker makes his decision about which path to take. The one that is "grassy" and "wanted wear" wins out over the other. It is a contrast: the road that looks more travelled likely represents safety. It is a...

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In "The Road Not Taken," Frost uses imagery as the speaker makes his decision about which path to take. The one that is "grassy" and "wanted wear" wins out over the other. It is a contrast: the road that looks more travelled likely represents safety. It is a conservative path that has carried many other people in the direction it offers. The other path requires more courage and a willingness to take chances.

The final stanza utilizes future tense as the speaker projects himself "ages and ages hence." In it, he expresses the sentiment that the less common path has "made all the difference." This, however, offers some ambiguity. It is not clear whether the difference will have been positive; all that is known is that he expects to live a long life and pinpoint this decision as the one that sets his trajectory.

Another feature of the poem's setting is the imagery of a "yellow wood." In a deciduous forest, this color would indicate that it is late in the year. This could represent that the season for the speaker to make his decision is drawing to its end, adding a sense of urgency to his commitment to one path or the other.

The fact that the speaker understands that returning to this spot is unlikely adds a note of realism to the poem's tone.

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