Posted by: M. Walgenbach | March 29, 2010

Robert Frost (1874-1963)

The Road Not Taken
By Robert Frost

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;         5
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,         10
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.        15
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.        20

1.  Alliteration is the poetic device in which the first consonant sound of a word is repeated in subsequent words, like in this nursery rhyme: Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.  The “p” is the first consonant sound that gets repeated in subsequent words.  Copy out two examples of alliteration from “The Road Not Taken.”
2.  If the two roads that the speaker describes are “. . . really about the same” and “. . . equally lay / In leaves no step had trodden black,” why does he say at the end of the poem that taking one of the roads “has made all of the difference”?
3.  What does line 2 of “And sorry I could not travel both” tell us of the speaker’s perceptions of real-world choices?
4.  A symbol is an object or an undeveloped character that stands, like a code, for something else.  Identify at least one symbol in this poem and explain how it is a symbol.
5.  Here is an excellent analysis of the poem.


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