“The Road Not Taken” (analysis essay)

Robert Frost’s poem is about making decisions in life, big or small. The poem begins with “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, / And sorry I could not travel both” (l. 1-2). Robert Frost describes himself going through a “yellow wood” and wishes he could “travel both” routes but realizes that traveling both roads is impossible. The first two lines gives a sense of symbolism: choices and decisions. The “yellow wood” tells the readers that the poem is set in the fall. The quote, “And be one traveler, long I stood, and looked down one as far as I could, to where it bent in the undergrowth” (l. 3-5). He is telling us that he is on his own and he is really thinking about which path to take. He cannot see the future; therefore, he is trying to decide which option is best for him.

In the second stanza, the poet states that the other road has “…perhaps the better claim, / Because it was grassy and wanted wear” (l. 7-8). The two roads hardly differ. Meaning that both roads hardly differ, they are equal, but he is still taking this path. He contradicts his own judgements by saying, “Though as for that the passing there had worn them really about the same” (l. 9-10). This is an example of personification because he says that the road “wanted wear” while a road cannot think and would not have any desire at all.

The third stanza states that he was the first to pass there that day, “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” (l. 12-15). The fallen leaves, when stepped on, turn black, he could tell that no one has not stepped on the leaves. From the last three lines of this stanza, he is realistic. He tells himself that he will come back and take the other road, but at the same time, he knows that this is unlikely going to happen.

The last stanza copes with the idea of what would have happened; “I shall be telling this with a sigh / somewhere ages and ages hence” (l. 16-17). He is saying that he may be regretful of his decision in the future. In the last few lines, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— / I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference” (l. 18-20). Frost finishes the poem by saying that he took the riskier path that not many people take and it payed off for him.

The poet’s journey represents life itself, and the crossroads represents one of the countless decisions we must make. This is an example of how we must decide without really being able to see clearly where that decision will lead us. This poem helps show how different people understand a person, a situation, or an event differently. One can look at the same thing but see it differently.

This poem has given me the courage to embrace the road less traveled many times, and that truly has made all the difference in the direction my life has taken. When you are tempted to take the easier route or the choice most people would make, I always remember that the road less traveled can make all the difference. Every day, we are all faced with choices that we must make. I hope no matter which choice you make, there are no regrets.