Two roads diverged in a yellow wood And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stoodAnd look down one as far as I couldTo 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 mornings equally layIn 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 sighSomewhere ages and ages hence:Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-Took the one less traveled by,And that has made all the difference.
Frost’s flare for using nature to and man’s interaction with it to relate powerful philosophical messages are expressed in his renown poem, “The Road Not Taken”. “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost is a very powerful poem with one basic philosophical theme: individuality comes down to being able to choose between the popular choice or societal norms and a choice less explored. In other words, the central meaning of this poem is that one should not make a decision because it reflects popular opinion-one should make sound choices because of their benefits to the individual-because choosing unique alternative could make all the difference. What does Frost mean by the “road less traveled by (19)”? Much of the poem suggests that Frost’s use of the word “road” is metaphorical and not literal. “Road” as used by Frost refers to a decision or a choice. However, by using the literal application of roads, Frost shows that deciding which road to take will determine the outcome of one’s journey, much like a decision will determine the outcome of one’s goals and aspirations.
Frost chooses to the take the road that “was grassy and wanted wear” (8). Why? Clearly, like a unique idea, the less traveled road may lead to a different sense of realization where only few men have been. Thus, the “road less traveled by” clearly speaks of Frost’s personal endeavor to be different or unique. He did not want to follow in the footsteps of conformity; this is why he takes the road less traveled by. Frost alludes to the fact that a traveler cannot take two roads at the same time-he/she must choose between the two.
The main reason for making this assertion is to show that we cannot abide by two decisions about a particular goal in our life at the same time. Consequently, we must weigh our decisions carefully. Note Frost says “I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference” (19-20). What does this say about how we should make our decision? Clearly, this infers that we should not make our decisions based on popular opinions. In other words, we should not make a decision because it works for everyone else; we should make a decision because it is right for our circumstance — because it could make all the difference.
Undoubtedly, the point Frost wants to get across in “The Road Not Taken” is the importance of being individualistic (don’t try to emulate everyone else). To be an individual and to act on your impulse and not the impulse is not easy. Note Frost says “long I stood / And looked down one as far as I could / To where it bent in the undergrowth” (3-5). However, as implied by Frost it is the ability to make such important decisions that separate great men from average men as suggested in this line: “I shall be telling this with a sigh / Somewhere ages and ages hence” (16-17). Thus, the road not taken can be equated to the unfilled dreams of others – dreams that are only realized by a few – a few that dared to be different.
In the poem Frost makes use of powerful elements, two of which are imagery and tone. Imagery is the representation of sense experience. The most important imagery Frost creates in “The Road Not Taken” is the two roads that “diverged in a yellow wood” .