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The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost relates on both a literal and metaphoric level to the concept of a journey.

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Amanda Atlee The Road Not Taken The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost relates on both a literal and metaphoric level to the concept of a journey. The poem depicts one man's journey throughout his life, the choices he made and the road he travelled. The Road Not Taken is a poem with universal relevance about a journey that every person takes. Here is a first person narrative tale of a monumental moment in the speaker's life - Frost can be considered the speaker. Frost is faced between the choice of a moment and a lifetime manifested in his poem. Frost presents the idea of an individual facing the difficult unalterable predilection of a moment and a lifetime. This idea in Frost's poem is embodied in the fork in the road, the decision between the two paths, and the speaker's decision to select the road not taken. Frost effectively conveys his theme and meaning through the use of numerous techniques. These techniques include simple yet powerful imagery, word choice and rhyme and rhythm. ...read more.


The speaker's sight is limited- his eyes can only see the path until it bends into "the undergrowth." The author shows man's attempts to tell which path is better by trying to for see what they will behold down the road. Both 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 traveled path, which "wanted wear." Frost presents a classic conflict- the decision between the common easy path and the exceptional challenging path. Choosing the already known easy path in life many people frequently endure reassures that the outcome will be predictable. While choosing the "less traveled" road represents the gamble of facing a more difficult path in life in hopes to achieve an incomparable and satisfactory life, contrasting the more familiar lives other people take The title immediately introduces the reader into the poem and its meaning, yet poses the question; When Frost writes The Road Not Taken is he implying the road he did not take or the road not taken by others? ...read more.


Faced with very similar choices man tries to examine what they have to offer, but often is not able to for tell the consequences. Man can opt to go the common route, which is the more reliable, and have a common life or he can undergo the less common route, which is unknown and often difficult, and have a unique life that stands out above everyone else's life. The choices a person makes in life are ultimately responsible for their future, yet at the same time a person can never go back to the past and experience other possibilities. It is unfeasible to predict the outcomes of capital decisions we make; often it is essential to make these decisions fixed on nothing more than questioning which selection will provide fulfilment. In the end, we reflect over the decisions we have made, and like Frost, sigh, discovering they have made "all the difference." The Road Not Taken effectively conveys the concept of a journey. Frost has used numerous techniques to convey the meaning of the poem to the reader. The journey described here is the universal journey every individual experiences, the journey of life. ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

The writer shows potential in this essay. Concepts are well explained and the symbolic reading of the poem is apparent. With better planning and less repetition, this would have achieved a good grade. More analysis of language, form and structure would have been very useful. ***

Marked by teacher Karen Reader 21/02/2012

Here's what a star student thought of this essay

4 star(s)

Response to the question

From the introduction there is a very clear focus on the dual nature of the question, with the writer considering both the literal and metaphorical significance of the poem. This is good as the writer clearly understands what the 'question' ...

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Response to the question

From the introduction there is a very clear focus on the dual nature of the question, with the writer considering both the literal and metaphorical significance of the poem. This is good as the writer clearly understands what the 'question' or discussion point is asking. The essay question is not asked as a question, however, limiting the extent to which the writer can evaluate – if the title was rephrased 'To what extent is this a metaphorical and...' et cetera, there would have been far more scope for the writer to evaluate 'this point means that to a small extent it is a literal journey, whereas to a large extent this point does this', adding a vital level of evaluating points to the essay. Evaluation shows that the writer doesn't merely take interpretations at face value and can see how the points could be refuted, or alternatively, just how strong a point it is.

Level of analysis

There is a good level of the writer connecting the poem to a wider meaning and considering how the poem reflects the great philosophical questions. However, this does tend to overshadow the more detailed analysis of quotes – in some paragraphs, such as para. 7, there is a conspicuous lack of quotes where the writer seems to assert without backing up their points (though the reader feels that they could if they wanted to). Quoting is vital for higher band marks as the writer must show that points aren't just thought of randomly, but driven and supported by evidence from the text. The paragraph considering the syntax of the title of the poem is particularly effective as it analyses the title and then goes on to evaluate and interpret the meaning behind it. Asking questions, as the writer does in this paragraph (para 5), can seem clunky unless the writer makes some attempt to answer them as they do here, which makes them seem more evaluative and thus a good technique to use. The writer concludes in a manner which corresponds with the introduction, which is good as it makes the essay come together as a whole.

Quality of writing

The direction of the essay is shown from the very first sentence, and the writer lays out the aspects of the poem they will focus on, making the essay structurally clear. Something which shows an advanced level of understanding is the way in which they write in the language of the poem (“the 'autumn' of his life” in particular), showing a deeper connection to the text.
A good analysis of structure and form, as they analyse the rhyme scheme and rhythm. This shows a higher-level attention to technical patterns, which clearly shows to the reader that the writer knows what they are writing about and giving an air of knowledge to the essay as a whole. Perhaps more technical language could be used to further this sense – for instance, Frost loosely uses iambic tetrameter, but the writer could consider where the divergences from said rhythm creates a more colloquial tone. This would give more technical weight to, say, the 7th paragraph, and elsewhere when discussing tone.

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Reviewed by _becca 02/04/2012

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