Read this article to know about the summary and analysis of the poem The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost.

Summary of The Road Not Taken

  • Lines 1-2

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both”

The poet while travelling on foot in the woods reaches a junction where two roads diverge. Immediately, he realizes that as a traveller travelling both the roads is impossible. Here two roads are meant two ways of life. The woods are yellow, which means that it probably falls and the leaves are turning yellow.

  • Lines 3-5

“And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;”

As it is impossible to travel both the roads, the poet stands there trying to choose which path he’s going to take. However, the poet wants to go down both paths and is thinking about it hard. He is staring down one road, trying to see where it goes. The small plants and greenery of the woods block his view.

  • Lines 6-8

“Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,”

The phrase could mean something like “as just as it is fair,” as in proper, righteous and equal. But this doesn’t quite apply to a road. “As just as fair” is an example of a simile. Then the poet decided to check the other path because he found the other road to be less travelled and grassy one. “Wanted wear” is an example of personification.

  • Lines 9-10

“Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,”

After travelling through the road, he found that both the roads are equally travelled. First, he found the first road to be the more travelled one, but then he says that both the roads to be equally travelled. The ‘as for that” refers to the path being less worn.

  • Lines 11-12

“And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.”

Here, again, the poet found both the paths looking same. Perhaps, he goes in the flashback. It was tough for him to recognize the real road as in the morning he was the first person to walk on the road. He couldn’t decide the right path as no step had smashed the leaves on the roads to allow him to go for the right one. These lines are an example of imagery.

  • Lines 13-15

“Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.”

The poet here saves the first road for another day. He knows how “way leads” to another, and then another until you end up very far from where you started. The poet here saves the first road for another day. Then in the third, he doesn’t think he will ever be able to come back and take the other path, as much as he wishes he could.


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  • Line 16

“I shall be telling this with a sigh”

This line is the example of the poet’s failure in choosing the right path. The word ‘sigh’ reflects that he is disappointed about the decision.

  • Lines 17-19

“Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood and I-
I took the one less traveled by,”

He accepts the fact that he is a failure in taking the right decision. ‘Ages and ages’ is an example of alliteration. Perhaps, he chose the less travelled one.

  • Line 20

“And that has made all the difference.”

The poet took the path that no one else did, and that is what has made the difference in his life that made him successful. However, a “difference” could mean success or utter failure.

Analysis

The poem The Road Not Taken is made with a rhyme scheme of ABAAB. The poet in the poem decided to seize the day and express himself as an individual by choosing the road that was “less traveled by.” Moreover, the narrator’s decision to choose the “less-travelled” path shows his courage. In terms of the beauty, both paths are equally “fair”. The narrator only distinguishes the paths from one another after he has already selected one and travelled many years through life. The Road Not Taken is one of Frost’s most beloved poems and is frequently studied in high school literature classes.

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