English 102 Poetry Essay We all will hit a point in our lives where we have to make some decisions, some more than others, and Robert Frost alludes to this in a relatable way in his poem “The Road Not Taken”. Frost uses some great images to describe the situation the narrator is in. He also lets you visualize the thoughts and actions that the narrator is making. There are so many ways you can tell what Frost is saying in this poem by taking a close look into his many uses of symbolism.
Frosts first use of symbolism in his poem is in the first two lines “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, / And sorry I could not travel both” (Frost, 555).
The two roads are being referred as a time in the narrator’s life where he has to make an important decision, and he can only follow one path. Once he makes this decision in his life, it’s going to be the decision he lives with.
You could say that this is his midlife crisis, and right now he’s deciding how he wants his life to be in the future. In in lines four and five he says “And looked down one as far as I could / To where it bent in the undergrowth” (Frost, 555). He doesn’t know where this decision will take him in life, he can only see so far into the future or so far into the road.
By the second stanza you think the narrator has one path in mind, but in a split second he decides to take the other path.
There was no premeditation to this decision, he had actually thought long and hard about the first path but took the risk and went with the road not taken. After he makes this quick judgment to take this road he starts to regret it a little by saying “Oh, I kept the first for another day! ” (Frost, 555) He regrets his decision and now wishes to have a chance to follow the other path someday. So now that our speaker has walked away from one future and into another, he’s pining for the one he passed up. He is planning to come back and take the other path another day” (Shmoop Editorial Team). He regrets his choice and wants to come back to the path he has passed up but he then realizes that fate is fate, and he must accept it in lines 14 and 15; “Yet knowing how way leads on to way, / I doubted if I should ever come back” (Frost, 555). It’s not evident if the narrator is happy or displeased about the decision he has made.
Frost starts the last stanza by saying “I shall be telling this with a sigh / Somewhere ages and ages hence” (Frost, 556). This sigh could be a peaceful and content sigh or it could be a disappointed sigh. Then Frost ends the stanza by saying “I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference” (Frost, 556) No matter what kind of sigh it was, in the end the decision he has made is the decision it will be. “He doesn’t know if he took the road less traveled or not, really – both paths were covered with fresh leaves.
But he thinks that, in the future, he’s going to remember the path that he took as the one that was less traveled” (Shmoop Editorial Team). He’s going to remember his decision for the rest of his life, and no matter what he thinks of this decision it still has made a difference in his life and he will continuously remember it. We all have decisions in life to make, and we all come to that point in our life where we have to choose which road we want to follow. Follow your heart. Even if you contemplate the decision for a while, remember your heart is what you should follow.
The decision to take one road may alter your life in a dramatic way, but at that point in time your decision was right for you. You may regret it a little, but in the end you will always remember why you ended up where you are. Shmoop Editorial Team. “Dreams, Hopes, and Plans Quotes: The Road Not Taken” Shmoop. com. Shmoop University, Inc. , 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 3 Nov. 2011. Frost, Robert. “The Road Not Taken. ” Backpack Literature: And introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. Kennedy, X. J. , Dana Gioia. New Jersey: Pearson, 2011. 555-556.