“The Road Not Taken” is a poem about a person that has come to a fork in the road and has to make a decision of which path to go down. That is the literal meaning of the poem but it has a much deeper meaning behind it. My analysis of the poem states that the poem resembles a student graduating from high school. The student can either go right into the work force like most high school graduates did in the 19th century or continue their education at the next level and go off to college to better their future.
The poem is set in a rhyme scheme of ABAAB which shows a strict flow to help signify the importance of the decision process. The first stanza gets right to the point stating the conflict of the roads being diverged meaning “to branch off”. The speaker states that no matter how much both ways are desired it is not possible for the speaker to take both paths. The speaker spoke of standing for a long time which means that this was a very hard decision and it was going to take time to make a decision.
The speaker looked down both paths as far as the eye could see showing that the speaker was thinking about both paths and how they would end up working out. In the second stanza the speaker makes a rash decision which is explained as “fair” defined as something that is free from bias. The speaker chooses the path that is worn down because more people have taken it. This is the path to the workforce right after graduation and the path is worn down because most people take this path.
The speaker still is not totally sold on this path and has in the back of his mind that he should turn around and take the other path. In the third stanza the speaker is still contemplating the correct path to take. The setting is in the morning and with a new day comes new opportunities and decisions. While the speaker is walking down his path he realizes the black fallen leaves that have been tread on. This symbolizes the amount of people that have taken this path and that it concludes to being the easy way out.
The speaker realizes this but keeps on his track for another day. The speaker understands his consequences by stating that this “way leads on to way” which means if he doesn’t turn back soon he might not be able to turn back because it might be too late. Then the speaker states, “I doubted if I should ever come back” which shows the indecisive behavior and the negative perspective of his journey. In the final stanza the speaker tells his story with a sigh which symbolizes that the speaker is in a confused and not very convincing state.
The sigh also signifies that the speaker is building up courage to make a very critical decision. The speaker comes to a conclusion and decides to change his path and take the path that is traveled on less and in the future it will benefit his life. The reason that the reader knows the speaker is taking the opposite path is because the speaker states that they took the path that was not walked over and the first path that was taken had trodden black. In conclusion, the title has a very significant role in this poem because it states the outcome without giving away the story from the beginning.
Looking back at the title it has a lot of symbolism because it speaks of the path that the speaker does not take leaving the person not knowing what could have been. Also the title talks about the path that the speaker did take because the person took the path that most people do not go down. The poem is very symbolic but everything ties in to compare with the decision process of a graduating high school student in the 19th century.
Frost, Robert, and Louis Untermeyer. Road Not Taken. [New York]: Holt, 1951. Print.