Why was the poem "The Road Not Taken," by Robert Frost, named so?

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literaturenerd's profile pic

literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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One can never know the true meaning behind a title unless an author openly states the reasoning behind it. Outside of that, readers can only assume the reasoning behind a title based upon Reader-Response Theory or assumptions made regarding the meaning of the poem. 

As for Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken," the title of the poem mirrors the message of the text. The speaker comes to a fork in the road and must choose a path to take. Although the speaker wishes to take both, this is an impossibility. The speaker can only physically travel one path, leaving the other "not taken." 

The poem acts as a didactic (a poem which intends to teach) and a narrative (poem which tells a story). Combined, the poem teaches readers about life by using a story. The title, therefore, acts as a cue to the reader. It (the title) can force a reader to consider what he or she may do when a fork in the road is come upon. 

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usagolsem's profile pic

usagolsem | College Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

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The title is divergent into two senses.One is the road not taken by the poet and in another sense the road not taken by general public, of which Frost himself is depicting the title left for the raders to decide which one. Since the meaning of the title is also ambiguous and seemed intentionally manipulated we have the freedom of one's own explanation for the whole poem. But still the central theme is all about the road not taken.So the title apts and so is entitled.

ramashishsharma's profile pic

ramashishsharma | College Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

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The tilte of the poem 'THE ROAD NOT TAKEN' by Robert Frost is highly misleading, in a way. The poet has depicted the limitations of the faculties of human beings to  decide a future course of action. It makes one wonder how one can say about the experience one has not gone through. The title also shows the feeling of regrete of the poet that he underwent, losing the chance to go along the road he could have taken but missed the chance. The road symbolises the course of action one takes in one's life. 

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