The Road NotTaken

The Road NotTaken
What is being said?
1 Why
does the poet choose carefully rvhich road to take?
2 Evaluate the conflicting temptations of the options
3 What lint
How is
available to the tra\'eller.
is being made bet\\'een the road and life?
it being said?
The poet has used simple language and
ing his ideas?
Discuss the various methods and techniques used by the poet to depict the concepr of
and the idea of life being a journey that must be taken.
regulated sfucture. How effective is this for present-
The implication is that this choice uas made some time back and has subsequend-v had a suong
impact on the poet's life. \rhat indications are given in the poem to substaniiate this lmpression?
Fi1l in the follorving summary grid.
Key themes
Figurative language
5ymbolism / imagery
Journey Link
the questions in the Per5o.:i
Besponse actvites a.e gu dehn:5
Text I : 'The Road Not Taken' by Robert Frost
This is a well-known poem Lhat uses simple tangurge to e\Fl^.e comple:' rd.a' rnd i'sues.
people face, regardless of time or piace. 'Tlvo roads'and the ramificaticns rhat flo! iiom
dlem are enplored in foul main stages rvithin the poem. Initiail] the gcncral siruatron is out
lin€d. This leads to an examination of the available altemali\es and Lhen on t.r a decision
being made.This reinforces d1e central theme ofchoice and the imporran.. of e\ aluruon in
decision making.The original idea is rettrned to after the yalu€ of irdn iduaLn has been
Frost has used a traditional form ofpoeuy to present an incident in his lii. Lhat has prored
influential in giring i! shape and substance. whether *Le situation \\a: r.:l rr igurali\e is
unimportanr. The poem stands as a philosophical summation of the laDslr.ii.n he has
gained over rhe 1'ears from being an individual rather than soneon€ (ho ha. i.lio(ed r-he
masses and conformed. The tone is conversational and in\.iting Thi all.\i: th: Poet to
communicate on a personal level with lis reader. Literal Ether than igrraL!3 La:Surge has
been used in the word choice, and the pace is ski]tu1ly controllcd bt punc:x:trrn m.dods
such as semicolons. colons. exclamatlon marks and dashes.
The final lines sho$'that the speater has lhe insight to comprehend '-har he 5r. I3lien a
momentous dccision that will have significant repercussions in his subs:q::ni irie Ths
helps lo establish that he is a pragmatic and practical person \lho lreigh! uF liiuaEons
rather than recklessly reacting & fust impressions. He seems to be a person
who has thoughtfrrlly assessed his life and the ddving forces in it. The p,r.m ii inllLraaonal
in suggesting thar uniformity can be restrictive and limiting $hereas noncrnirrnin and
individualir-v can be liberating. 81' taking fie ieast trodden path, the hLnt i! rhai .:Ferience
\1'ill be broader in scope and opportunib.
Detailed analysis
Stanza l
The time is clcarly aunrmn rvith rhe oees described as'a ).ellow lvood
ir pr-fration lbr
t lherei,"neemert
ofreg|erand'orro\\',hsr orlr'one
.., The
rrhc-nbr "
use of'I'gives the poem a personal, individual tone as \lell as |hc Fhrase one
traveler' emphasising that dre spealer is alone.
One route mustbe chosen, onc road folloned and the other rejected and JIi necessltates
an immediate decision before the journey can be continued.
Inversion in the phrase 'long I stood' stresses the thought given to thi; Thr de"rfe to see
far as possible emphasises that the poet $,anc his choi.e ro be soundLy
do$'n the path
bas.-d rather than haphazard. It also ensures that the rhyming scheme i" mainlained
Repetition ofdre !\,ord'AIrd'to begin three ofthe ll\.e lines adds to r:,\e sense of hesiraLion and ..nrempldLion tlsr uke. place before Lhe decr..o'r i mroc "- *. o(gri rins of
The term 'undergro\,rih' impLies that this is not an overly $el-]falelLed roule. rcgardless
ofwhich road is taken.This also establishes a narurai context.
Stanza 2
Pace accelerates with the opening phrase which denotes rhich road is taken
The poet sho\,r,s the difficultl of Lhe decisior\ for the temptation !o tale the other $'hich
was'just as fair'and perhaps had'a befter claim'is high. Thc simile highlighrs the time
spent in indecision and pondedng as does the use of dre word 'perhaps .
5EfltoR EfrcL5fl
fheJourLey an
area of
5tody-reacher Resour.e
References to the length of fie grass shoi{'s that the decision-making has been a lengdr,r'
process. Indccision and vacillation are implied bl Lhe d egree of comparative detail drat is
given-'abour th€ same'.
Examinadon is able to determine that there are differences as r\'ell as similarities between
the tlvo roads thar diverge before him.
Stanza 3
The element of sorro$ expressed in the opening stanza is rcvisited here as the poet
d\r.els on the fact that both roads are attactive for being untrammelled by any footprint.
This gives bo*r roads an iNiting, unspoilt and unsullied appearance; 'lea\'es no step had
trodd€n black'.The poet implics that he likes solitude and uanquilliqr
Thcre is the image oflife being a road$,ay: 'I lept the first for another dayl'
Colour imagery adds a simple layer of meaning for 'black'has negative connotations
while the 'aurumn' colouring of stanza I signifies something that is rich and golden.
The use ofan apostrophe 'Oh'highlights his despair at not being able ro enjoy $'hat bottl
paths have to offer. He is forced to accept that time constaints demand lhat on\, one
road be travelled. This is further emphasised by the exclamation mark.
His initiat optimism that perhaps he can indulge in both is recognised im]nediatelt"as a
wish, a q rtas,v: 'I doubtcd if'-
5tanz6 4
This sranza begins \\''ith an altered oudook b!, the use of tuture tense rather than past
tense as has been used elscwhere.This gives the stana\ opening a predictive tone both
in action and feeling:'I shal be te[ing this \,r'ith a sigh'.
'n Hc has cast his mind inro Lhe lar distant tuture, seeing significance in this choice being
made thar is far greatcr Lhan a simple choice ofpafis.
I Repetition is used ro bdng us back to the openlng line for added emphasis.
t Implication is &at b"v choosing 'the one less ta\'eled b,v' his life has been the richer, for
thar decisjon'has made all the difference' The emphasis is not only on \\,hat has been
choscn but aLso on the r€ason for fiat choice. This, in rurn, slmbolises ttre essential
principles of fie way the poet has lir.ed his life.