person walking through a forest

The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost

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As Edward Thomas, how would you respond to Frost's poem that allegedly mocks your indecisiveness?

Quick answer:

Edward Thomas, a British poet and writer, was inspired by his friend Robert Frost to choose between two roads that led to different places. Edward Thomas writes in a letter to Frost that he will decide on both roads, and regrets not having chosen one over the other.

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Bob,

It is a great honor that I was the inspiration for this wonderful piece of writing. As always, you have captured with your words and wit, a simply complex situation. I have noticed that both roads are almost the same, but no reader of your poem can know what is just around the bend. Obviously what you are trying to tell me is that I should choose. There will always be regrets at what we don't choose, but one must learn to make the choice and live with the consequences.

Thanks for your wise counsel,

Ed

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I would be honored.  I think the poem is beautiful.  I would be impressed that my friend wrote this tribute to me, and took such as minor and mediocre event and elevated it to a metaphor about life.  I might find it funny, but I would not be offended.  Maybe THAT is the road less traveled!

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Some people claim that Frost wrote the poem "The Road Not Taken" to make fun of his friend Edward Thomas, who had trouble deciding where to go when they took long walks together. Imagine you are Edward Thomas. Write a letter to Frost to tell him of your reaction. In my letter, I plan to criticize his poem (because Thomas was also a poet and writer), and tell him that I'm angry, because I found that in reality he reacted angrily. What are some reasons to support his anger?

I'm not going to lie, I think you have a tough job ahead of you.  Criticizing Frost's poem in regard to form and structure is going to be tough.  Stylistically, it fits with his other stuff.  It's short, accessible, to the point, and speaks about universal truths.  Also, the rhythm, meter, and rhyme are solid.  

Expressing anger about the poem itself is possible, but not readily apparent.  If Thomas did indeed take a long time to decide which way to go, then the poem supports his attitude.  If a single choice can make all of the difference, it makes sense that Thomas would be diligent about weighing his options.

Perhaps you could have Thomas read the poem and interpret it differently.  He could interpret that making a choice doesn't really matter, because whatever the choice is will still make all of the difference.  He could be angry with Frost for making the decision making process appear to be so flippant and unimportant.  Thomas could also be angry that Frost would be so bold as to equate life changing decisions to picking between two walking trails.  Lastly, Thomas could be angry with Frost for suggesting that once a decision is made it can't be undone.  

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