Robert Frost

(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963 / San Francisco)

The Road Not Taken - Poem by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
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  • (10/16/2013 3:51:00 PM)

    A Life Course not Followed

    A Short Story by Robert Frost

    On my journey through life I recently had to make a choice between two possible ways to follow next. I was somewhat disappointed that I could only take one of them. After a long hesitation I did make a choice and decided at the same time that at some date and place in a far away future I would sighingly spread the word (as I also do now) that of the two I had chosen the way fewer people had followed, although when I made the decision I did not know that- only that I considered the one direction somewhat obscure in outlook and the other slightly more fresh and attractive, while at the same having to admit that they were actually pretty much of the same pristine character. I did realise though that there would be very little chance that I could ever retrace my steps. So I decided that in my future account I would add to my choice of the less common option that this had made all the difference - whether good or bad I would wisely leave unsaid, since it was impossible know then; I could only guess that the difference might be huge. And to add to the confusion I chose a title (as you can see) implying that this story would be about the other option, which of course I had no experience of and thus neither could nor did say anything further about.

    Afterword: I am so pleased that this story has inspired such a large number of especially young people in the United States of America, and elsewhere in the world. R.F.
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  • Nicole Reyes (10/15/2013 10:56:00 PM)

    It doesn't matter if the choice we have made either a good one or a bad one for our future, as long as you stand for what you believe in and not just depending on the decisions of others. (Report) Reply

  • Krishnakumar Chandrasekar Nair (10/15/2013 10:51:00 AM)

    Our lives can often come to such a pass
    Of two roads diverging in the yellow wood
    And like Frost we too must decide alas
    Which be better for our long term good....
    (Report) Reply

  • (10/8/2013 1:58:00 PM)

    I love how this poem is read and interpreted. I feel like Frost is messing with everyone because of it and it's funny. I may be right, may be wrong, but I like to think it's about people making choices and, regardless of the choice, look back and create meaning on whatever they did to make it seem like it was worth something.

    Taking a certain road does make a difference in the long run, but the overall meaning is always over-exaggerated later in life. Not always per se, but you catch my drift. Humans tend to want existential meaning for everything, why can't the road just be a road?

    Hopefully I conveyed my thoughts how I wanted, it is a great poem regardless of its meaning (it doesn't need meaning, right?) . Cheers!
    (Report) Reply

  • Stephen Loomes (10/6/2013 5:22:00 PM)

    He stumbles along, with pen in hand, a country road, his thought so bland, a fork in the road, with his ego's distortions, becomes a conundrum of monumental proportions, and so with tedium we travel with this bore, and all one can hope is that the trail he took, was so much longer, that his feet got sore (Report) Reply

  • (9/30/2013 4:25:00 PM)

    Regarding Lauren's comments, in my opinion, a common error in interpretation has been made. You can't take single lines out of a poem of this magnitude and get the correct meaning. You have to look at the entire work as a whole. Yes, if you look at the single line quoted, it does appear as though he's saying they're equal:

    Had worn them really about the same,
    And both that morning equally lay
    In leaves no step had trodden black.

    However, take into consideration the complete stanza containing that line, as well as the first two lines of the third stanza and you get a different meaning:

    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.

    When looking at the complete statement and not omitting the beginning of it, he's saying that considering the traffic that each had had, they were really about the same. So, yes, they are worn equally if you factor in the number of people who had taken each path. Each person had individually worn the path about the same but seeing as how only a few had taken the one path, it was obviously going to be less worn than the one that had been traveled by many.

    It's true he's not saying that one is any better than the other, but they are, indeed, different, and that it does make a difference which path you take. However, once you take that path, it might not be possible to go back and change the path you're on. The events in one's life do have a domino effect and it just keeps on going, one thing leading to another.

    However, by using a more abstract word like doubted, rather than the more definitive word knew, he does leave room for exceptions. Yes, some people might be able to go back and change some things but he doubts that will be his case. The path he chooses WILL make the difference and that’s the whole point of the poem. He knows his choices today will influence what happens in his future and what he becomes, including how he's viewed by those who choose to take the more common path.

    To me, it's more about owning up to the choices you make and accepting any consequences, good or bad, than it is about being unconventional. He did take the unconventional path but not necessarily to make a statement about being unconventional. As Jer stated, it's a mental debate that you must make for yourself. Yet even as you take that first step down the one less traveled by or the other, you must do so knowing that you're accountable for that choice and whatever may come as a result from it. And following Debora's thoughts, sometimes following your heart and taking that road might harder, but it's the one you chose and that's what matters. Following that clear, well-worn road might be the easiest path, but is that what you truly want? Are you doing it for yourself or for others? Is there any true adventure or even satisfaction in following in the footsteps of so many others? No path is going to be perfect so even admitting with a sigh that you know you’re going to look back and think about what might have happened had the other road been taken, you move forward, prepared for the future ahead of you.

    Speaking from experience, my life isn't perfect but I've had a lot of adventures. It's been hard at times and I've hurt others by my choices, as I've not always done what they think I should do, but I can’t say I regret my choices. I'm not looking back on life wondering what if I would have taken that other road. I'm not turning around and trying to go back to try that other path. Even if I could, it wouldn't be the same as if I had taken it to begin with, as the experiences I've had along the road I chose have given me more experiences that have reshaped my way of thinking and who I am. I can't go back, no one truly can. Everything we do makes us who we are, what we are. We have to look to the future knowing that every choice, every road does make all the difference. We have to accept that and more bravely forward, knowing we can't undo that which has been done.
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  • (9/30/2013 9:40:00 AM)

    i love this poem.. specially because, At last he took the road less travelled by.. this shows the human nature of hesitation to take a new path.. and also it seem to be a mental debate between mind and heart.. And it teach us the courage to take decision boldly.. (Report) Reply

  • (9/30/2013 9:40:00 AM)

    i love this poem.. specially because, At last he took the road less travelled by.. this shows the human nature of hesitation to take a new path.. and also it seem to be a mental debate between mind and heart.. And it teach us the courage to take decision boldly.. (Report) Reply

  • (9/19/2013 8:24:00 AM)

    I think Frost means that he takes the road people rarely takes. He chooses the harder road not for success but for happiness. A choice made from his heart. (Report) Reply

  • (9/5/2013 6:26:00 PM)

    the poem will really help young people to make their career choice (Report) Reply

  • (9/3/2013 11:18:00 AM)

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  • (8/29/2013 1:06:00 AM)

    Everyone thinks this poem means to be unconventional and do your own thing, but that's NOT what it means.

    Frost is saying that both roads are the same and he just chooses one randomly. identical. He states that they were both worn the same.
    Had worn them really about the same And both that morning equally lay
    In leaves no step had trodden black.

    But in the last stanza:

    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.

    he is saying that in the FUTURE he will say with a sigh and tell people that he took the road less traveled by and it made a difference, but he's actually lying because he earlier in the poem he states that they were worn about the same.

    The point of the poem is that you take a road by chance and it doesn't really make a difference. There is no road less traveled by. It's not really an option to take one or the other. Although people would like to look back on the choices they made and think they would have made a difference, things just happen the way that they happen in life!
    (Report) Reply

  • Srivinay Salian (8/28/2013 4:06:00 PM)

    Truly inspiring verses so beautifully woven by Frost. There are poems to be analysed and then there are ones to be felt. This one belongs to the heart! (Report) Reply

  • John Tatum (8/21/2013 11:30:00 PM)

    The simple explanation is he became a poet rather than a school teacher later on in life...
    which was a risk...however, some other interpretations can be gleaned if you know Frost's use of
    synecdoche...and his own version of Hopkins inscape theory.
    (Report) Reply

  • Rajesh Thankappan (8/12/2013 11:03:00 AM)

    I think that the first line of the fourth stanza, 'I shall be telling this with a sigh, ' indicates that the poet rues the fact that in time and space he can occupy only one set of circumstance in life however different of varied the opportunities thrown up by the other option must have been. (Report) Reply

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  • Padmaja Iyengar (8/2/2013 2:28:00 AM)

    This one's a great and inspiring poem by the master that inspires us to explore the unknown realms and find something path-breaking in the course of the quest. I believe this is also a great poem on out-of-the-box thinking and innovation. (Report) Reply

  • (7/31/2013 6:01:00 PM)

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  • Jack Growden (7/27/2013 4:34:00 AM)

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