The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Definition – Writing in language chosen and arranged to
create a particular emotional response through
meaning, sound and rhythm.
• “Poetry can communicate before it is understood” (T.S.
• “Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and
the thought has found words” (Frost)
© Michal Preisler
Robert Frost 1874-1963
Robert Frost was born in San Francisco, California
but spent most of his life in New England, a rural
area in the north east of the United States. The area
is characterized by hills, woods, farms and small
towns. Frost himself worked for many years as a
farmer, in addition to teaching English and writing
poems. His poems reflect the sights and sounds of
where he lived, the fields, farms and woods and
scenes of everyday life. All those elements make
Frost’s poems accessible, leading readers to
understand the deeper truths behind seemingly
simple ideas
© Michal Preisler
Choice & Cost
Every choice you make has a cost because choosing
to do one thing means giving up the opportunity to
do something else.
Faced with the same options , different people make
different choices because each person has his / her
own way of making decisions based on different
values and beliefs.
When faced with the need to make a decision we try
to think about the cost and guess the outcome.
© Michal Preisler
The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost
© Michal Preisler
© Michal Preisler
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;
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.
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear; I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Though as for that the passing there
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I Had worn them really about the same,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
© Michal Preisler
Which statement best summarizes
the central idea of the passage?
A. The narrator stands at a crossroads and is
faced with the decision of which way to go in
B. The narrator must decide which road he
wants to travel on to get to his destination.
C. The narrator is enjoying the autumn season
and the beauty of the trees as he takes a walk.
D. None of the above
• What is the main dilemma in the poem?
The speaker is at a fork in the road – he has to
choose which way to go.
• The fork in the road is a metaphor for a point
in life when you need to make a choice.
• A metaphor is a type of comparison in which
one thing is described as if it was something
else (example: life is a box of chocolates)
© Michal Preisler
Analysis and Literary Terms
• What is the poem about ?
• The answer is A. The narrator stands at a crossroads
and is faced with a decision about which way to go in
• The poem is about a dilemma, the need to come to a
decision / solve a problem
© Michal Preisler
The passage suggests all of the following as
descriptions of the Path EXCEPT
Yellow wood
Grassy and wanted wear
D. Cold
The poem does not mention the temperature
even though it does hint that it is autumn and
the leaves are changing.
What can we infer a “yellow wood”
Sun in the trees
Leaves changing in autumn
Actually yellow trees
None of the above
The inference is that the trees are changing for
the season. It is Autumn and the paths are
covered with leaves that “no step had trodden
From this line the word “trodden”
most clearly means:
Blown away
C. Trampled
The author describes the leaves as not being
“black” like they had not been walked on and
trampled in the mud.
Which of these is NOT an example
of how the road is symbolic?
The road represents choice
The road is like life
The road is beautiful
The road has pros and cons
• Is the speaker really standing in a forest
thinking which way to go?
• What does the road symbolize ?
The road = Life, Choice, and Problem
The fact that it is beautiful doesn’t make
it Symbolic.
– Symbolism - the use of a concrete image (symbol)
to represent an abstract idea.
© Michal Preisler
Which choice best describes the
Life is about Choices
Life can be beautiful
Life is complicated
None of the above
A. Life is about Choices
The author describes the Theme (lesson) about
making choices, weighing the pros and cons and
doing what is right even if you might sacrifice to
do so.
• How does the speaker solve his dilemma?
– He compares the two roads
– He weighs the pros and cons
– He tries to foresee the future
• Which road does he choose?
– the less traveled by
– The more adventurous / the less conventional ??
© Michal Preisler
Read the these lines. What can we
infer about the author’s choice?
“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence”
He is excited about his choice
He is sad that he might miss something on the other road
He is sure he will be happy to talk of his choice in the future
None of the above
• How do you think the speaker feels about his
choice ?
– Last stanza takes place in the future
– Sigh of relief ? Sigh of regret ?
– The “what if ??”
• Why is the poem called “The Road NOT Taken”
and not “The Road Taken” ?
© Michal Preisler
Consider the last stanza
How do these sentences and the use of the
word “sigh” and the phrase “made all the
difference” reflect the author’s changing
attitude towards his choice? Write your answer
in complete sentences. Use evidence from the
passage to support your response.
The Last Stanza (4 Response)
In the poem, “The Road Not Taken,” the author uses the words
“sigh” and “made all the difference” to reflect his changing
attitude towards his choice. In the text when the author says he
will be telling his story with a “sigh”, he implies that he may be
wistful (sad) that he did not take the other road, but then the
author’s attitude changes when he acknowledges that the road
he did take will have “made all the difference” in his life. This
implies that while the author is sad that the other road (choice)
could have had possibilities, he will still be grateful for the
opportunities that he will have on the road (choice) he has
Consider the text
Describe how the author’s attitude toward the
path symbolizes his changing attitude toward
making choices throughout the poem. Use
textual evidence from the passage to support
your answer.
Consider the Text
In the poem “The Road Not Taken,” the author uses imagery of a path to
portray his changing attitude about choice. In the poem it says the author is
“sorry he could not travel both” paths. This image of two roads and a choice
shows how the author is sad that he can not choose both paths in life, but has
to only pick one. Later in the poem the author uses the image of the paths
being “really about the same” to show that his choice is simple at first. His
attitude changes to happy as he describes both paths as being beautiful with
“leaves” that had not been “trodden black.” This image of a beautiful path in
an autumn wood seems to be a change in attitude. However, his attitude
shifts again with the description of the “sigh” for the future when he might
regret what he missed on the other path because he doubted if he “should
ever come back” to the path that he was passing up. The author’s attitude
ends with a positive image that he would still be grateful for the path he took
because it would “make all the difference” in his life.
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