In "The Road Not Taken," what problem did the traveler face when two roads diverged in a yellow wood?

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lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is autumn and the woods are yellow. Two roads diverged and the traveler had to decide which road to take. The two roads represent the choices we make in life. Life is a journey, and the traveler is faced with two roads in a yellow wood. The yellow wood represents the autumn of the traveler's life. The traveler stood looking down one road, trying to decide which road to take.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

The traveler has a choice to make. The traveler is so sorry he cannot take both roads. He stood for a long time before deciding which road to take. Then finally, the traveler took the road less traveled. He is a nonconformist. He took the road that would have less distractions. It was "grassy and wanted wear." Now, the traveler can only contemplate what the other road would have been like. But since "way leads on to way" the traveler doubts that he shall ever come back.

The traveler is still thinking about the road he did not take. He is wondering what would have happened had he taken the other road. The traveler can only sigh as he thinks about the other road. In the end, he thinks he made the right decision:

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 

Read the study guide:
The Road Not Taken

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