Misconceptions of Robert Frost’s “the Road Not Taken”

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Sophie Cannon March 9, 2014 English 133 Misconceptions of Robert Frost’s “The Road not Taken” The meaning of Robert Frost’s “The Road not Taken” can be interpreted several ways. However, Frost’s intent of the poem is often lost or misinterpreted. More times than not, this poem is printed on graduation cards with an attached message to “size the day” and “take the road less traveled.” These interpretations have lead this poem to become a cliché and steer away from Frost’s actual purpose for the poem. “The Road not Taken” is filled with different literary devices that uncover an alternative meaning of the poem. The opening line of the poem states that the speaker is standing before “two roads diverged in a yellow wood” (Frost line 1). This means that the speaker has a choice to make between the two roads or a decision to make in his life. The physical setting of the poem is “a yellow wood”, or autumn, when the leaves begin to turn yellow. This represents the age of the speaker. Just like autumn is late in the year, this decision comes later in the speaker’s life, as he begins to grow older. The speaker stands before two decisions diverged late in his life. The speaker then reveals that he stands and looks down the first road “to where it bent in the undergrowth” (line 5), for a long time. As he looks down the first road, he studies it until he could no longer see down it due to the undergrowth. This represents the future. When a person looks forward into their future, they can only see a limited view until it becomes unclear. In the speaker’s case, the undergrowth acts as that specific cutoff point. The speaker looks at the first road as far into the future as he can see until it become unclear. The speaker quickly turns to the second road and claims that this option also looks good to him. He does not analyze this road yet states that it is
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