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The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Updated on August 4, 2021
phoebe180 profile image

Phoebe loves literature and enjoys reading poems. She has an old soul, enjoys listening to music and also plays strategy game.

Have you ever wished life to be like an eraser, where you can easily wipe unwanted mistakes and forget about them? No scar, no evidence, and no pain. Nada.

In the past, I have pondered on the chance to undo the things I regret doing in just a snap of my fingers.

The road not Taken by Robert Frost came into my mind as I reflect on what might have been and could have been... I remember using this poem during my class presentation, which gave me an award for proficiency in student teaching. I was able to stir participation and solicited critical ideas from my students. That fateful afternoon changed my life and so my outlook on life.

The road not taken is a poem that conveys the importance of decision-making.

"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;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

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.

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."

Human as I am, my self-esteem was my greatest enemy that kept me from achieving my goals. Amidst the pride I have achieved, I failed to prove my potential as a teacher, so I moved on and embarked on another journey, but I still ended up with nothing cause every time the seawater turned rough, I ran and hideaway. I have earned two degrees and passed two licensure exams, but my current status doesn't define the degree I have made.
Going back and try to make things right wouldn't help me at all. It will just steal the moment that I should be cherishing life. Whatever path we chose in life, we must never forget that there's never really an easy road and in every success lies trade-offs. The world is round, and we are living in a world full of twists and turns. Man is innately equipped with the instinct to survive. We are all survivors, so live life to the fullest!

As I journey through with my life, I have a deep conviction that wherever path I go, whatever way I choose, at the end of this journey, I will arrive at the place where God has directed me from the moment I was conceived.

I always look back to the poem "The road not taken by Robert Frost" since it reminds me of the importance of TODAY. I shouldn't waste my time because every moment becomes history, and what's been done can no longer be undone.

Many of us waste our time over the things that practically do not have any importance in our lives without realizing that we are wasting precious moments that our creator has given us. We are stealing the joy of now.

Let me discuss in my point of view the persona in the poem is trying to imply:

In the first stanza, the persona says he is standing on a diverging road and cannot decide which way to go. It's like the dreams we have in life. We often have multiple lists of ambitions in our heads to the extent we can not grab all in just one grip; thus, we have to make sure that decision should be precise. There is no room for mistakes in reality. The importance of choosing the right path will define and shape our future.

The second stanza conveys the decision of the persona who took the road of a less traveled by. "And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear." It was grassy, which means this is a road less traveled by. When we walk in a forest, we always try to follow the track people pass by. We refused to deviate our path because we are afraid to take chances of getting lost as we get deeper into the forest. In life, some people would take the easy road because they fear taking risks, and very few will take the courage to take the other road full of hardships and struggles. But the truth behind this other road is that God has always wanted you to become a better person.

Sometimes no matter how much we hold on to that one absolute dream, because of our fear of rejections and failures, we deny ourselves from taking chances and live in contentment that it was never meant for us. Maybe it was not meant for you, and you're lucky enough for not going through a litany of regrets, but what if it was God's ultimate dream for you. It was the reason why God created you, and you let go of the chance because you doubted God's presence in your life. Would you wish to restart your life all over again?

"And both that morning equally lay,... Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back." Morning is a sign of a new beginning, a new day. The persona in the third stanza acknowledged the day and realized that in every step he makes, there was not a single mark left (In leaves no step had trodden black- which means that there might also be some people who have chosen that road but no trail of them was seen). However, as he keeps moving on with his journey, he doubted he could ever return. Why? Perhaps, he encountered some difficulties, some hardships. Trials are meant to shape us and not destroy us.

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, " declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you," plans to give you hope and a future."

Sometimes, a slight of trials tears us apart, leaving us hopeless. And that dream we long nurture suddenly seems unreachable. But if you open your heart to God, you might realize that God sometimes gives us sorrow not to push us away but to pull us closer to Him and long for his sole comfort. The pain we go through in life is God's way of calling us back to His embrace. Because we are unique to God and well-loved by God, may we always remember the agony Jesus went through in carrying that cross to Mt. Calvary. We may never forget that we become united in every pain we go through with Jesus through the same pain.

And the last stanza, "I shall be telling this with a sigh," Why did the persona regret taking the road less traveled by? Why would some people lament the life they have chosen to take? Why do couples divorce? Why do people fail to land a better job after five years in college? What happened to that dream they have built? Is that how God shaped them?

"Two roads diverged...sorry I could not travel both. I doubted if I should ever come back."

If we go back to these lines, we would know what caused the persona's regret. It was the eagerness, the curiosity of knowing what kind of life the other road could have offered him.

Many times in our lives, we are shaken by trials. Yes, we prayed and asked God for guidance. We asked God for advice, but we failed to ask for His approval. No war has been set without the consent of their leader.

Now, why did the persona regret it? Didn't he succeed in life?

1st: Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both


4th: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- I took the one less traveled by,

Why was yellow erased in the last stanza?

"I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."

What kind of "difference" is the persona pointing at when he regrets taking the less traveled road?

What is the reason why a couple files a divorce after ten years of marriage, and why do some people never get the chance to practice what they have earned in college? Is it fair to say "the relationship failed, I fell out of love, it didn't work" or "there are better caregivers, nurses, teachers, engineers, pilot... than me, I just don't fit in that job."

"Two roads diverged...sorry I could not travel both. I doubted if I should ever come back."

I always believe in the saying, "If there's a will, there's away. If you truly want it, you can get it" If you have wanted your marriage to work, you won't give up. Instead, you will find ways to make it work. If you have enjoyed a better job, you wouldn't be sitting all day idly hoping for the job to come knocking at your doorstep; instead, you would indulge yourself in finding ways to improve and to fit that career you ever wanted.

The only comfort we can get out of our failures in life is to deny it's a tragic effect on our lives. The person regrets his long odyssey because he hasn't let go of the thought that other roads could offer him. Divorce seems to be the solution to end the marriage because couples have welcomed the idea of not fitting in with each other. And the reason why you're stuck jobless is that you can not defy that insecurity of having low self-esteem. Sometimes trying is tiring. Until we learn to trust God and let God do our bidding, all our hardships can be resolve.

"My son, my precious child,

I love you, and I would never leave you.

During your times of trial and suffering,

when you see only one set of footprints,

it was then that I carried you." footprints in the sand.

Now, did the persona succeed? I would say yes! And this can be proven by the word "yellow." Yellowwood is a tree in Southern America. But what is the impact of the "yellow" wood that was omitted in the last stanza? The word "yellow" could mean something vague, something unsure. But when he finally reached the end of the wood, all his doubts were erased. (" And looked down one as far as I could, To where it bent in the undergrowth").

©Marites Asuncion

I have lived under the shadow of fears, and how much I have wanted to go back to the day that led me to this road many times in my past. But going back is never the solution. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the light." I am definite that when you follow God's way, even when you are at the turning point of your life right now if you surrender yourself to Him, He will come to rescue you.
The poem is an inspiration in making the right decision in life as we are constantly faced with this same dilemma now and then. But the main point of this poem is learning to trust God in all the events of your life. Pray for God to incline His will into the desire of your heart; this is the only way to save you from more significant regrets in the future.

Learn to Value Time

© 2008 phoebe180


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