British Culture & Expressions

“The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost

Robert Lee Frost was an American poet although he published in England initially. Known for his realistic descriptions, he produced almost photographic captures of the rural reality in a colloquial tone. Considered one of his most famous poems, it is also the most misinterpreted.

The poem is narrated by a lone traveller. Having to make a decision between two roads symbolize the decision we have to make in the journey of life. The traveller chose the path that was ‘grassy and wanted wear’, the grass is overgrown showing that has been less travelled. The traveller chooses this one in the desire to live an individual adventure.

There is no consensus about if the last stanza refers to a celebration of the free-thinking or just the opposite. Some readers use it as an anthem of independence, uniqueness. On the opposite side, others believe that the traveller soon realises that both roads have been travelled equally, both are unique in their equal special way. “Though as for that the passing there, Had worn them really about the same,”. In the third stanza, “Oh, I kept the first for another day!” the traveller lied to himself about not losing an opportunity. He has only postponed travelling through the other path, and one day he will come back and do it. The last stanza would confirm that although both paths were the same, one day, in the end, the traveller will try to find a more special meaning to reinforce the beauty of the decision he made.

People wrongfully interpret the last stanza as evidence of the payoff for freethinking and not following the crowd, when it actually comments about people finding meaning in arbitrary decisions.

“The Road Not Taken”

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, 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,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves, no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

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 travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.

2 comments

    1. That’s is the spirit Louis Francis! Why to leave it for tomorrow if we can get the things done today? With dedication everything could happen.

      Like

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