The Road Not Taken; Looking at the Outcomes in Life

Jayla Jackard

Literary Analysis Final Paper

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English 122

Tim Denies

The Road Not Taken; Looking at the Outcomes in Life

The “Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost, provides a look at the choices he has in life and has to choose which is the right one and what could be the negative outcomes of the choices. The traveler has a decision to make, being the two paths and which he should follow. “The Road Not Taken” argues that no matter how small a decision is; that decision will affect a person’s life forever. The split roads are used as a symbol of the choices society is faced with everyday life. Choosing one path will lead the traveler in one direction, while the other will likely lead towards a completely different journey.

In the poem “Two roads diverged in a yellow road” seems to be heading in two different directions because the choice to take one or the other has made a huge difference. Frost describes this as the difficult decision the traveler has to make in the poem and in life its self.In his last line “And that has made all the difference”

Frost describes the feeling of two roads diverging and leading in different directions making a significant difference. On the same morning, however, when the

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decision of what path to take is made, the roads appear to the traveler “And both that morning equally lay”.The two roads being equal makes it difficult to understand why choosing a particular road will make all the difference. In stanza two, the traveler suddenly relates how he took the other road and further describes that chose way. The description compares the two roads, hinting at their similarity. He expresses regret that he cannot travel both roads “and be one traveler”.

Decisions always have to be made between what path to travel; whether it will have a negative outcome on life or a positive outcome.A decision is made, and the road is followed, and there is no going back and undoing that decision. The traveler in Frost’s poem chooses a path to follow looking toward his future, and not living in the past: “Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back”. The traveler wants to choose his own path and make his own decisions in life, not one that has already been made for him. He chooses “the one less traveled by” knowing that he will probably not be able to return. But also knowing that if he did return he would not be the same person by the time he came back because time will take him further, at that point altering his path in life.

Since the future paths may not present the same choice as they do right now he will not have the same choices at this moment. He chooses “the one less traveled by” so that he does not have to return to where the roads diverge and he will be able to make his own decisions by traveling his own path. The traveler is able to make his own decisions and his own mistakes, learn from them, and move forward accordingly.

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He does not want to travel down a road already laid out for him, knowing what is going to happen next.

Individualism in “The Road Not Taken” is ideally demonstrated in the outcome of the poem from which the entire course of life is anonymously and irreversibly chosen. Some decisions are major, life- altering choices. The decisions we make in life, like the traveler in “The Road Not Taken”, are not to be taken lightly. There is a desire to be adventurous, yet we fear possible regret for what might have been.Either way, we must live with the choices we make. The literal situation of “The Road Not Taken” concerns a traveler who is faced with a very simple decision. The traveler comes to a crossroads in a “yellow wood”. Two paths lay ahead of him, both “just as fair”. The traveler desires to take both roads, but knows he “could not take both”, and is disturbed by that realization. He regrets not being able to experience both paths at the same time. Although, the traveler has a decision to make about life:The decision whether to go in the same direction as everyone else and take the path more traveled by or to be a leader and choose his own direction. At the end of stanza four this poem can teach a life lesson:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

This chosen act of self and the entire course of life.

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