The Road Not Taken: Finding America in the Poem Everyone Loves and Almost Everyone Gets Wrong by David OrrA cultural “biography” of Robert Frost’s beloved poem, arguably the most popular piece of literature written by an American
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood . . .” One hundred years after its first publication in August 1915, Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” is so ubiquitous that it’s easy to forget that it is, in fact, a poem. Yet poetry it is, and Frost’s immortal lines remain unbelievably popular. And yet in spite of this devotion, almost everyone gets the poem hopelessly wrong.
David Orr’s The Road Not Taken dives directly into the controversy, illuminating the poem’s enduring greatness while revealing its mystifying contradictions. Widely admired as the poetry columnist for The New York Times Book Review, Orr is the perfect guide for lay readers and experts alike. Orr offers a lively look at the poem’s cultural influence, its artistic complexity, and its historical journey from the margins of the First World War all the way to its canonical place today as a true masterpiece of American literature.
“The Road Not Taken” seems straightforward: a nameless traveler is faced with a choice: two paths forward, with only one to walk. And everyone remembers the traveler taking “the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference.” But for a century readers and critics have fought bitterly over what the poem really says. Is it a paean to triumphant self-assertion, where an individual boldly chooses to live outside conformity? Or a biting commentary on human self-deception, where a person chooses between identical roads and yet later romanticizes the decision as life altering?
What Orr artfully reveals is that the poem speaks to both of these impulses, and all the possibilities that lie between them. The poem gives us a portrait of choice without making a decision itself. And in this, “The Road Not Taken” is distinctively American, for the United States is the country of choice in all its ambiguous splendor.
Published for the poem’s centennial—along with a new Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition of Frost’s poems, edited and introduced by Orr himself—The Road Not Taken is a treasure for all readers, a triumph of artistic exploration and cultural investigation that sings with its own unforgettably poetic voice.
The Road Not Taken Essay
Although commonly interpreted as a celebration of rugged individualism, the poem actually contains multiple different meanings. The speaker in the poem, faced with a choice between two roads, takes the road "less traveled," a decision which he or she supposes "made all the difference. Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler,. 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, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day!
When they went walking together, Thomas was chronically indecisive about which road they ought to take and—in retrospect—often lamented that they should, in fact, have taken the other one. Out walking, the speaker comes to a fork in the road and has to decide which path to follow:. In his description of the trees, Frost uses one detail—the yellow leaves—and makes it emblematic of the entire forest. Defining the wood with one feature prefigures one of the essential ideas of the poem: the insistence that a single decision can transform a life. The yellow leaves suggest that the poem is set in autumn, perhaps in a section of woods filled mostly with alder or birch trees.
Use Of The Road Not Taken By Robert Frost
In this poem, Robert Frost uses title, imagery, and theme to complicate and lead the reader to unknowingly misunderstand the poem. His career spanned fifty years, throughout those fifty years he achieved more than the average poet.
His poems begin in delight and in wisdom. Robert Frost finds himself at a point where the road splits into two. He must make a decision. He chooses the grassy and less travelled path. The other road is more conventional, risk free and well-traveled.
About Rajman Note RajmanNotes is a student's resources site for providing high quality knowledge and Excellency in learning. The main mission of RajmanNotes is to provide premium study notes and guide in study for success and prosperity. Post a Comment. Responsive Ads Here. Poem Summary and Top 10 Question-Answer. By Rajman Chaudhary. The Road Not Taken.
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; 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, 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. 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. This poem is about the choices you make in life and the outcome. I think this poem was created to show people that every choice you make has a different out come so you should approach them differently. No one has returned to this world after death.