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How does Robert Frost communicate his sub-textual meaning in "The Road Not Taken"?

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Introduction

How does Robert Frost communicate his sub-textual meaning in "The Road Not Taken"? Robert Frost was born in San Francisco in 1874. He moved to New England at the age of eleven and became interested in reading and writing poetry during his high school years in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Frost drifted his way through a string of occupations after leaving school, working as a teacher, cobbler and editor of the St Lawrence Sentinel. His first professional poem, "The Butterfly" was published on November 8, 1894 in the New York newspaper, The Independent. In 1895 Frost married Elinor Miriam, who became a major inspiration in his poetry until her death in 1938. By the nineteen-twenties, he was the most celebrated poet in America, and with each new book - including New Hampshire (1923) and a Further Range (1936) - his fame and honours (including four Pulitzer Prizes) increased. Robert frost lived and taught for many years in Massachusetts and Vermont and died on January 29, 1963 in Boston. Robert Frost's poem "The Road Taken" depicts an image of a solitary traveller who has come to a fork in the road in his journey and must make a decision on which way to proceed. ...read more.

Middle

Life is like those woods because no one can clearly see or predict what can happen in the future, only hope to choose a path that will lead you to a good future and happiness. In an attempt to make a decision, the traveller looks down "one as far as I could". During the first verse, repetition of the "oo" sound is used with words such as "wood" and "could". This draws the attention of the reader to the words used emphasising the concept of the choice he will have to make. As much as he strains his eyes to see as far as the road stretches, eventually it surpasses his vision and he can never see where it is going to lead. The author shows man's attempts to distinguish which path is better by trying to predetermine what lies ahead. Both the roads diverge into a "yellow wood" and appear to be about the same in their purpose. The first of the two paths is the more common route than the other less travelled path which "wanted wear". ...read more.

Conclusion

The traveller commits himself to what he has chosen at the end of this verse as once someone has performed an act or spoken a word that really defines who they are it might not be able to be undone. Frost represents man's limitation to explore life's different possibilities. The narrator sighs at the end of the poem, gratified having taken the uncommon road, yet also sighing that he may have missed something. Yet he remains proud of his choice and it seems that to this person what was most important, was that he did what he wanted, even if it meant taking the road less travelled. This last verse arouses nostalgia in the reader with the use of time change. I think there are many equally valid meanings to this poem and Robert Frost may have intended this. There is no judgment, no specificity, no moral. There is simply a narrator who makes a decision in his life that changed the direction of his life from what it may have otherwise been. It allows readers form all different experiences to relate to the poem. ...read more.

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