The Road Not Taken


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, 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 traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


I have always liked this poem.  I have always been different, so it really spoke to me.

This poem is interpreted as an assertion of individualism.

Would you all agree? 

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Replies to This Discussion

Yes. One of my favourites too. Perhaps about choices as well as individualism.
Yes, I agree -- you are making a choice in the poem.  You are choosing the less traveled road.

To me the poem is about retrospection. It tells a story about decisions made in ones life which, it transpires, are good decisions. I do not see irony. The story is about individualism.

This poem has to be the most influential on me for sure... the fact that I can remember part of it years after I read The Road Not Taken, proves this.

Yes, it means a lot to me too.

Thanks Will, Napoleon and Ian for your replies.

Frost, without a doubt one of the my favs. I memorized this poem for a class in H.S. Also,  A Passing Glimpse. "I want to get out of the train and go back." A line I have repeated to myself time and time again.

He is one of my favorites too. Thanks Joe!

I think one of the marks of Frost's brilliance is he can infuse so much meaning into a single word or expression. There several ways to read or interpret every line. What at first seems simple offers layers of meaning. It reminds me of certain minimal artists and musicians who are able to draw so much emotion from a single note, or line or brush-stroke. Actors too - just a look can speak volumes.

Like Napoleon below, I see introspection, reflection here, but also a hint of irony - were my decisions good decisions, is it a negative or positive difference that it made, or is mere difference enough? Answers to these questions are all unsure, and that's one of the things I like about the poem.

Introspection and reflection .. Right David I see that too.

More than anything, to me this poem is about choices and the impact of those choices, whether for good or ill.  Certainly, it also speaks to a less popular choice as well ... but as to the difference made, I can't help but note that Frost doesn't characterize it as either positive or negative.  The sigh he gives in the last stanza could be as easily from curiosity from what MIGHT have happened as from regret from a decision made long ago.

Action - consequence.  Inseparable and unavoidable.

Wow, Loren! We were writing our own very similar takes on the poem at almost exactly the same time. As yours appeared a few minutes later than mine, I wonder if you'd read mine first or it's just coincidence? Anyway, I agree 100 per cent.

Both you and Loren did reply at the same time with the same ideas about the poem. Thank you for the comments. I do agree that the Poem is about actions and consequences for your actions.




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