Who is “I” in the poem refers to? What do you think the poet means by the statement “Because it was grassy and wanted wear;” ?  

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is considerable question as to whom the "I" refers.  Some argue that the speaker is Frost's walking partner, who always wondered about taking another path.  Some suggest it is Frost, itself. The universal view of the "I" is that it is applicable to everyone who is confronted with some type of choice between equally desireable, yet ultimately incompatible courses of action. The most compelling evidence might be Frost's own description

One stanza of "The Road Not Taken" was written while I was sitting on a sofa in the middle of England: Was found three or four years later, and I couldn't bear not to finish it. I wasn't thinking about myself there, but about a friend who had gone off to war, a person who, whichever road he went, would be sorry he didn't go the other. He was hard on himself that way.(Frost)

The idea behind the road being "grassy and wanted wear," implies the notion of exploration.  The speaker veers from taking the road that others have taken, that is more commonly accepted.  Rather, the speaker takes the one that has not been popular, not been widely accepted.  In honoring this notion of the good that others have not, the speaker points out that the look of this particular road was one filled with grass, implying few have walked or tread upon it.  This idea is enhanced with the personification of the road as one that "wanted wear," which renders a picture of a choice beckoning and calling out to the speaker.  In describing the road in this manner, it is almost as if the speaker was compelled to take the path that others discaded, one that called out to him, which might have contributed to "making all the difference."

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The Road Not Taken

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