person walking through a forest

The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost

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What life lesson and techniques does "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost communicate?

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To me, the lesson that is taught by this poem is that you should not stress over decisions.  The poem is teaching us that most decisions that we think are really important are actually meaningless.

At the end of the poem, the speaker claims that he took the road that was less traveled and that that choice made "all the difference."  But we can see in the rest of the poem that there really was no difference between the two roads.  He just stood there convincing himself that the choice mattered.  He should have just gone one way or the other on a whim because both paths were the same.

This also tells us that we have a great capacity to fool ourselves.  The speaker in the poem has convinced himself of something that is not true -- that there was a difference between the two roads and that his choice was very important.

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A very good lesson that can be learned is to feel proud of one's own choices, even when others say to us that they are taken in vain.

Sometimes we get two choices in life, and we realize that one is better than the other. Yet, the one which has the least weight, least hardship, and least risk is the one we choose precisely because it gives us perspective, and it puts on to a challenge.

What we learn from this is that many do not take the harsh, hard, and heavy trip because many might say it is not necessary. Yet, those who do take it, and take the shot, and walk it through will have much to feel proud of in the end. In short, like Wayne Gretsky said "the only shot you miss is the one you do not take".

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In the poem "The Road Not Taken," what is the theme and what techniques does Robert Frost use to communicate his theme?

The poem is about decision making, making choices in life, about having the ability to be an individual who can determine the course that his or her life follows.

The poem consists of 4 stanzas of 5 lines each.  

"Frost composed this poem in four five-line stanzas with only two end rhymes in each stanza (abaab). The flexible iambic meter has four strong beats to the line. Of the technical achievements in “The Road Not Taken,” one in particular shows Frost's skill at enforcing meaning through form." 

Robert would often take walks in the woods with a friend and his friend would ponder the possibilities of the path that they didn't take.  This is relevant to all the choices that individuals make each and every day, some have a more significant effect on an overall life, others are simple and insignificant.

The author is forced to make a choice, he can't stand in the woods all day, but even after he has made the decision, he is not sure if he did the right thing.  So the poem also presents a dilemma that is interesting to analyze.

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. (Frost) 

Even though the traveler appears to be sure that he chose the right road, his decision is based on a road that looks like it holds more mystery, one that is less explored than the other.  Perhaps Frost is inviting the reader to engage in being curious about life and not just settle for the ordinary, but explore the mysteries of life to be fulfilled, and most especially if an individual is bored or feeling unchallenged by life, don't be afraid to travel the road less traveled and chart a new path for yourself.

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