What are the similarities between the poem "The Road Not Taken" and other works by Robert Frost?

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appletrees eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Some of Robert Frost's most popular poems have certain aspects in common, and these similarities contribute to the poems' staying power. Let's look at three of Frost's most widely read poems: "The Road Not Taken," "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," and "After Apple Picking."

In all three of these poems, the setting places the reader in the midst of nature, and the poem's speaker describes this natural setting in detail. Each of these poems also functions as a metaphor; that is, the central idea or situation can be taken at face value, but is also symbolic of a larger or deeper truth. In "The Road Not Taken", the road in the title refers not only to a physical path in the woods, but also to the speaker's path in life. The speaker takes the "road less travelled by" and "that has made all the difference."

In "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," the journey through the woods can also be seen as the life journey or life path, and the line "but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep" refers to the many things yet to be accomplished before death.

 

"After Apple Picking," a slightly less well known poem, has a description of picking and gathering apples in orchard; but many analysts have discussed the symbolic meaning of this poem, and it is widely believed that apple picking is a metaphor for the activity of writing poetry, and is a meditation on Frost's own thoughts about his career, which was still in the somewhat early stages when he wrote this poem.

All three of these poems use a natural setting and activities and situations found in nature to explore larger truths about life, death and work. It is clear that Robert Frost approaches poetry as a way to explore these larger ideas.