The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

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Overview

“The Road Not Taken” is a poem by Robert Frost that uses the extended metaphor of a traveler in the woods to explore the impacts (or lack thereof) of people’s decisions.

  • While walking, the speaker arrives at a place where “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood.”
  • The speaker evaluates the two paths: while one initially appears less popular, they are “really about the same,” and he chooses the second path.
  • One day, the speaker imagines, he will declare that he chose the road “less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference”—despite the two roads being identical.

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Summary

The poem opens on a person, the speaker and protagonist of this text, who has met a fork in the road that he is traveling. The fork offers the speaker a choice of roads, and we quickly come to understand that these roads symbolize choice in general: every one of us reaches countless forks in the road of our lives, and we have to make choices based on what limited information we have at that time.

The woods are "yellow" in color, so it is most likely the season of autumn. The speaker wishes that he could travel both roads, and he peers down one as far as he can. It disappears in some brush.

Next, in the second stanza, he looks at the other road, noting that it is grassier than the first but that both are "worn . . . about the same." In other words, about the same number of people have taken each road. In the third stanza, the speaker notes that both of the roads "equally lay" that morning, and no one appears to have traveled either one today because the leaves are still yellow rather than black with mud from others' shoes. He would like to think that he can keep the first road for another time, but he realizes that one road always leads to...

(The entire section is 393 words.)