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The Road Not Taken

Robert Frost

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hey ben
Added by: brooke
I agree...not that you will ever really respond to me or anything...you probably will never go to this site again anyway...oh well...prove me wrong, huh?
You screwed this up!
Added by: Tim P
this poem should read "as just as fair" in line 6 instead of "just as fair." The exclusion of this single word changes the total meaning of this poem. TRUST ME, IT ISN'T A HALLMARK POEM!!! Frost himself said that he doubted that anyone would truly understand the meaning of the poem. Research it a little more before writing the generic "take the untraveled road through life" essay.
Added by: pilgrim
Yes . You are right Tim P. Not a light poem. Way leads onto way. Not much more terrifying than that. Both roads are the same. Being clever with one's decisions does not matter. It is the choice itself that makes all the difference. The other road would also make all the difference.
The way does matter
Added by: paul
I disagree - the point is that going against the flow, the norm etc, is where the benefit lies. Cultures can only expand their horizons by individuals taking risks and travelling the least trod road.
Conforming is not the same as exploring, I believe.
Road = Road
Added by: pilgrim

Conforming is as important or meaningful as rebellion or counter movements. An untraveled road is an attractive idea, but, if you look at the poem carefully, you can see that Frost has measured the roads to be very close to equal. The road he didn't take is not the road of conformity, but the beginning of countless possibilties that will never bloom. On the other hand, since he did take a road instead of standing there twiddling his thumbs for eternity, he finds that way leads on to way, and that his choice cannot be unmade. A chain of events from a single decision: way leads unto way. Frost's poem is dark and complex and points at the limitations of our rationale in the " big picture". Battle cries against establishments can be noble, but he is crying about something far more restricting.
diference = difference
Added by: paul
Your argument is compelling, not only sending me back to the poem but keeping me there for sometime! However, as much for the sport as to defend my rather cocky earlier comments, I still have to cling to the idea that Frost is suggesting he benefitted from some degree of non-conformity - not taking the sure bet. His lines:
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;... seems to carry more meaning than the fact that the other was 'just as fair' and 'worn ...really about the same.'As does the closing statement about the less travelled road MAKING the DIFFERENCE.
Naturally the road not taken was also full of possibilities - we all have the potential to be or do many things but only end up being/doing the things we are/do (Barthes I think gave that notion a good flogging back in the 70s!)So, do we choose to run with the herd (nothing wrong with that), or otherwise? Frost chose the latter and was glad - that is the point I take away from his poem.

if I may interject...
Added by: Falcona
This is not the first time I have read this poem, as I just recently graduated from High School.

It occurs to me that the subject of the poem stands at the divergance of the two roads and decides to take the path less worn, but keeps in mind the one that has been proven (the first road). It doesn't seem like the second is that much better than the first, just that it was something different, something new. Most people can understand the importance of doing something new once in a while in their lives.

That's just my take on it, though:) What do you think?
different appears to be the key word.
Added by: paul
I believe we are travelling the same road of opinion, Falcona but is it the lesser trod?

Chin! Chin!
the difference is in the telling
Added by: TS
I'm afraid Pilgrim is more correct, though he also seems to miss some of the point. If you look closely at the first three stanzas, they describe that the roads really are about the same. The road he took looked "just as fair." He does say it wanted wear, however this is immediately taken back in the next two lines saying that they were really worn about the same. He also says that "both that morning equally lay." The important point comes in the first two lines of the fourth stanza when the teller says that someday he "will be telling this with a sigh/ Somewhere ages and ages hence" and he will say that he took the road less traveled and that made the difference. The teller doesn't take the road less traveled, he just knows that he will later say he did. The poem is a statement about how, looking back, everyone claims that what made the difference was the uniqueness of their actions, even if their actions were not unique
Added by: John
Well, this is what Frost himself had to say about his own poem:

"One stanza of 'The Road Not Taken' was written while I was sitting on a sofa in the middle of England: Was found three or four years later, and I couldn't bear not to finish it. I wasn't thinking about myself there, but about a friend who had gone off to war, a person who, whichever road he went, would be sorry he didn't go the other. He was hard on himself that way."

He also said:

"I'll bet not half a dozen people can tell you who was hit and where he was hit in my Road Not Taken"

Frost has had some fun with many of his readers. The poem is not a hymn to individuality. It is the story of a man who is never happy with his choices, yet, in his old age, idealizes his path in life.

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