person walking through a forest

The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost

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In "The Road Not Taken," which road did Robert Frost choose: the easy, commonly traveled or the less worn?

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In "The Road Not Taken," I believe the speaker of the poem took the more difficult road. He took the road less traveled by. This means he took the road with less people; therefore, his journey had to be more lonely. He took the road that the majority of people avoid.

In the road less traveld by, there would be more bumps in the road and more brush and undergrowth. There would be more obstacles as far as trees and nature's natural growth.

In my classes, I teach my students that the speaker took the less traveled road. This meant he took the road which requires much more studying. The majority took the road I call the "party" road. Students can choose the "party" road and end up without a degree. It is easy to hang out with friends and party and have a good time. It is more difficult to choose isolation that comes with hours of studying.

Truly, the less traveled road requires commitment to the journey of life called endurance. The road that requires great commitment is often a lonely road. No one likes to commit and persevere through hard work and sacrifice.

I imagine the speaker of the less traveled road felt the pains of loneliness and isolation. In the end, it will be worth all the loneliness and hours of perseverance. In the end, it made all the difference for the speaker, as it will for anyone who chooses the tougher road:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

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Does one road seem to be more appealing than the other in "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost?

The grassy path seems to be a more desirable choice.

In the poem, the speaker comes to a place where a road diverges into two paths. He cannot take both, so he stops and looks at the paths. When trying to decide which path to take, they seem similar. Eventually, he decides one of the paths is better because it “wanted wear:”

Then took the other, as just as fair, 

And having perhaps the better claim, 

Because it was grassy and wanted wear; 

Though as for that the passing there 

Had worn them really about the same.

Both paths are covered in leaves. In this way, they again seem very similar. It is really a matter of perception and degree that the speaker seems to think one of them is “less traveled by” at that particular time. He decides to take that one. 

I shall be telling this with a sigh 

Somewhere ages and ages hence: 

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— 

I took the one less traveled by, 

And that has made all the difference. 

Apparently, this really was the more desirable road. It made a — presumably positive — difference in the speaker’s life. If you look at the poem as a metaphor for life, it seems the speaker came to a point when he had to make a choice between doing what others had done or branching out on his own. He chose to do something unique and different, and he later felt this was a good decision.

The speaker's point is that he made a choice, and he cannot return to the point in his life where he made that choice. We always have to decide what we will do, and this will affect how the rest of our lives turn out.

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Does the speaker take the road less traveled in "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost?

“The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost presents a quandary to the narrator both literally and metaphorically. The conflict when settled will make a tremendous difference in the life of the speaker. 

The poem’s literal meaning

A person is out the woods in fall when he comes to a fork in the road.  Which road does he choose to travel? It is unfortunate to the narrator that he cannot travel both paths. He looks at one of the roads, even bending down to see as far as he can see.

…long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim

Quickly he decides to take the other road which appears just as good and possibly better. This path was not mown, and no one seems to have gone down it, although when the speaker looks at both of the roads, they have about the same amount of use because the leaves on the roads were not disturbed. He hopes that someday he will be able to come back and go down the other road, but he really doubts it.   

Many years in the future, he will be telling possibly his grandchildren about the decision that he had to make. He will tell it with a bit of regret or longing. He chose a path that was less traveled, and it made a tremendous difference.

The metaphorical road 

The wood represents the life of the narrator and where he finds himself. The divergent paths are the important decision about some facet of his life that he must make. The reader does not know what the choices are, but it could be anything: career, marriage, military, education, or financial. 

The question is which route in life does the narrator take?    Is it the typical avenue that everyone takes or is it the more non-conforming choice, the less-traveled route? The interesting aspect of the decision is that for every road that a person takes in his life there is that road or choice that was not taken.  

The speaker makes the decision that is more obscure.  Both of the selections were very similar, but one appeared to be separated from the normal path. As he discusses this in the future, he will retell this with a bit of longing for the choice that he did not make.   

One interesting thing that readers overlook is the name of the poem. It is not the road less traveled but rather the road not taken. The impetus here is that there is always a bit of confusion when the “what ifs” set in.

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Was the "road" Frost had taken easy "to travel" in his poem "The Road Not Taken"?

The first thing to remember about the poem is that Robert Frost, the author of the poem, is not the narrator of the poem; much like Robert Browning, an earlier British poet that he admired, Frost creates personas, or characters, who describe their experiences in monologues; so when you read the poem, you're also supposed to be figuring out what the poem's narrator is like.  In this case, the narrator imagines feeling regret for not taking the second path when he's just started the first one, so we know that he's not likely to be satisfied with either path or believe that either path is "easy."  In fact, all that we know is that the path the speaker takes is "just as fair" therefore making it "the better claim" because it "wanted wear":

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,

Since we're just reading about what the narrator imagines those paths will be like, the poem doesn't really say if either of them are easy.  Again, he describes both paths as "fair," which means he thinks they both look good to him ... but he's already anticipating being dissatisfied. 

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