The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost
An analysis of the poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ included in the CBSE/NCERT Class 9 syllabus
About the poet
Robert Lee Frost (1874-1963) was an American who scaled great heights of popularity among his native Americans, but among the vast number of English poetry readers who read his poems for pleasure and as a pastime. Like many other English poets of his time, he adored Nature and loved delving into the many riddles it offered. Frost’s own life was full of non-conventional decisions and a few twists and turns. At one stage, he even worked as a cobbler. But, by the time he wrote this poem, he had scaled great heights in the literary world. Perhaps, this poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ was written when he was in a reminiscent mood.
The speaker is strolling through a stretch of forest when he finds his path splitting into two separate ones. He paused for sometime trying to decide which path to take. He looked as far as the paths went.
One path appeared to wind into a patch of undergrowth.
Examining the two choices before him a little more, he found that both paths were under-used. Dry leaves lay scattered on them pointing to the fact that hardly anyone had walked along them for quite some time. Both paths appeared nearly the same. However, one of the two appeared more grassy and, hence, more enticing to an adventurous pedestrian.
It was a close choice for the speaker. He could have chosen the first path as both looked almost similarly used. But, an urge to experiment in life influenced his decision at that moment.
He decided to come there some other day to walk along the path he was abandoning at that moment. On that occasion, walking over the second path with more grass over it fascinated him. He knew that he might not return to the same spot again to traverse the path he was leaving behind.
After a few years, the speaker got to smell the sweet smell of success in the field of literature. Giving up the lure of other professions, he had chosen to pursue his literary passion despite many initial uncertainties. Now, he looks back at his past life with a sense of satisfaction. He is a contented man now.
In hindsight, the speaker is very happy with his past decision to heed the call of his inner self when the dilemma of choosing a career was so baffling.