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The title of a poem often reflects the author’s theme. In his poem "The
Road Not Taken" Frost’s theme is about choices. He had two roads to chose
from and wonders what would have happened had he taken the other road. His title
reflects this. The first three lines, "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
/ And sorry I could not travel both /And be one traveler, long I stood",
tell us the narrator must choose between two roads he finds equally appealing.
It is apparent the narrator has a difficult choice to make and is carefully
considering his options. The fact that he is sorry he cannot travel, or choose,
both paves the way for regret or wonderment. After the choice of roads is
described and considered, Frost writes "Oh, I kept the first for another
day! /Yet knowing how way leads on to way, /I doubted if I should ever come
back." This is where the narrator makes his choice. Here, he knows he is
bound by that choice. He wants to hold on to the other possibility, but knows
this cannot be. His choice becomes the road taken. The choice he held on to,
then somberly let go, becomes "The Road Not Taken." In the last stanza
of this poem Frost writes, "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. The narrator seems content
with his choice yet he tells of it with a sigh: not so much a regretful sigh but
a speculative one. He is resolving himself to the fact that even when "ages
and ages" pass, he will still wonder what if he had taken the other road.
This poem is about choices. But more than that, it is about the choices not made
and the idea of wondering about them. The title of this poem "The Road Not
taken" gives us insight to and reflects this theme.
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