The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

The Road Not Taken book cover
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What Happens in The Road Not Taken?

Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” follows a traveler in the woods. He arrives at a fork in the road and hesitates while deciding which path to take. While the decision seems significant and irreversible (“I doubted if I should ever come back”), he realizes that the two paths are essentially the same, resulting in an ironic “sigh” at the poem’s end.

“The Road Not Taken” summary key points:

  • While walking, the speaker arrives at a place where “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood.”
  • The speaker evaluates the two paths. One appears less trodden on, but further inspection reveals that they are “really about the same.”
  • He chooses the second path, having “kept the first for another day,” but he quickly acknowledges that he will never come back.
  • He reflects that one day he will tell this story “with a sigh” and declare that he “took the road less travelled 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...

(The entire section is 393 words.)