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How effectively did the author explain his/her point or how the author was successful in creating an intended mood or other impact?
According to you, which elements of the poem were the strongest or weakest and why?
Which images or metaphors did you find interesting or effective and why?
What can you say about the rhyme scheme used?
Did it add any value to the poem, whether it contributed to the poem or distracted?, etc.
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To 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 morning equally lay
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.
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.
– Robert Frost (1874-1963), Mountain Interval (1920)
In the second stanza, the poet emphasizes that the other road was grassy and less traveled and, therefore, he consciously took that road. He stresses that it was perhaps better, but, not much more than the other road.
In the third stanza, the poet again portrays both roads as covered in leaves that had been walked on very rarely, to the extent that the leaves covering them had not turned black because of tramping of feet. He also asserts that he continued on the road he chose and that he already knew the fact that one thing leads to another and so he wondered if he would ever return to the other road.
Finally, in the last stanza, he illustrates that he will tell his story to others when he is much older. He would tell others that he had the choice of taking one road over another and the road that he chose, has made a big difference in his life.
Frost has beautifully added the element of color while developing the theme. The picturesque description of yellow wood suggests the fall season when leaves turn colors. Colors and seasons have their own interpretations and reflect different emotions as they are frequently associated with different stages in people’s lives, such as spring for youth and autumn for late middle age. So it is safe to conclude that this is the ‘fall’ of his life or he is possibly around middle age. Since he has had enough experiences to realize how important some decisions can be, he accepts that he must live with the consequences. The simple idea ‘The leaves are not trodden black’ efficiently represents absence of heavy traffic.
The poem is a characteristic example of the metaphorical language used by Frost, comparing the roads to options people can take in their lives. No one can consider several ways in life at one time to see how each will work out, since no one can look ahead to see where each choice might lead. No one is able to foretell the future or where the other choices regarding each of those ways would have led. One must choose only one road and see where it will lead. One thing the speaker accentuates is that the choice is not to be taken lightly because it could, as he realizes while he reflects, be the difference between two very different life experiences.
“The Road Not Taken” is an enjoyable and thought-evoking poem. The tone and mood has been kept light by Frost though he is presenting a very serious subject. Though he is speaking with reference to his simple memories, he is successful in conveying strong point. He makes us think more seriously about our past and future decisions and their potential consequences. Reading this poem again and again is a joyful experience. A common experience of Frost, making a choice at the junction of two roads, is an experience with which everybody can relate to. Everyone reading the poem feels happy to accept that a decision taken at some point in our life leads us in a particular direction and choosing to go in that direction can make a profound difference in our lives.
The rhythm used in the poem is iambic tetrameter. It refers to a line of poem consisting of 4 iambs (where an unstressed syllable is followed by a stressed syllable) or 4 feet. This means when the poem is read aloud, four beats can be heard. As mentioned above, the figure of speech metaphor is used as a style of writing in the entire poem. In the poem, life is compared to a journey made by a traveler.
Here, we can easily relate to the idea of roads because we all have, at some point in our life, probably arrived at two roads, literally and have been uncertain about which way to turn. Later in our life, we turn and look back to discover that we chose the wrong way and that has led us somewhere we had not intended to. We know, how even relatively unimportant decisions change our lives significantly.