Who do you think the speaker in Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" will be addressing with "a sigh"?

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beateach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the last stanza of Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken,” the speaker says, “I shall be telling this with a sigh.” He also indicates that it will be in far into the future when he will tell of his choice to take “the one less traveled by.” Many people identify with the poem as meaning anyone who takes a chance to do things differently than the norm and succeeds. They will sigh when they look back at that major decision and know that it was the right one.

There is a theory that Frost wrote about the “sigh” in reference to his close friend, Edward Thomas, who some believe is the subject of the poem. Edward Thomas was an American writer who befriended Robert Frost in England around the beginning of World War I. The two inspired each other’s writing. Edward Thomas left his home in America and moved to England to write. He eventually won prizes for his writing. Frost and Thomas planned a life of writing and farming but circumstances intervened. When Frost shared his poem, Thomas reacted poorly even though Frost told his friend that, “the sigh was a mock sigh, hypocritical for the fun of the thing.” Thomas’ reaction to the last stanza of the poem might have pushed him to enlist in World War I where he was killed.

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The Road Not Taken

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