The poem is an autography written in 1912 when the post had to take the momentous decision of leaving his country, US, to settle in London
This poem by Robert frost is about choices one makes in life and their consequences. One day while walking in a wooded area full of trees with yellow leaves, the poet comes to a fork in the road and he has to decide which road should he take. He starts debating over the choice as he realizes that he cannot travel both the paths and he has to choose the direction he wishes to taken in life. The second road appears to be less traveled on and he is tempted to walk on it even though the first path also appears to have been left undisturbed for some time. However he decides to take the second path with the intention of walking on the first one sometime in future. As he thinks about his decisions, he looks down one path as for as he can see trying to foresee what life will ‘be like if he walks on that path. He concludes that the trail that has been less traveled on would be more rewarding when he reaches the end of it. At the same time he knows that the chances of his returning to take the first road, which is more frequented, are slim, especially as he is aware of the manner in which one path leads to another taking the traveler far away from the main path and he is not able to comeback. He imagines himself telling his future generations with regret, what life what life would have been if he had walked the more traveled path though the path he actually chose made all the difference. He implies that the choices we make have far-reaching, unalterable consequences. He feels his life will be very different from the common people because he has always been tempted to take the path not generallyfollowed by others. It shows that the poet is an adventurous man ready to take risks in life and does not like to follow the conventional (unadventurous) path.
TEXTUAL COMPREHENSION :
Read the extracts given below and answer the questions that follow each:
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.
- Where does the poet find himself standing ?
- What does the poet mean by ’a yellow wood’ ?
- What decision is he supposed to make ?
- What does the word ’road’ symbolize in the above lines ?
- The poet found himself standing in front of two roads leading to different directions. He had to choose one path.
- ‘a yellow wood’ means a wood where the leaves on trees are yellowing and are falling to the ground as it is autumn.
- The poet reached a fork in the road where it divided into two. He had to choose between the two roads.
- The word ‘road’ symbolizes the poet’s journey of life. He is standing at the crossroads as he has to take a momentous decision for himself i.e. whether to continue staying in the U.S or move away to London and make efforts to establish his reputation as a writer.
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.
- Why did the poet take the other road?
- What was so common about both the roads?
- What does ‘other’ refer to in the above lines?
- What literary device has been used in the above lines?
Ans .(i) The poet took the other road because it was ‘fair’ and had a better claim. It was grassy and deserved to be used.
(ii) both the roads had been passed over almost equally.
(iii) ‘Other’ refers to the road that was grassy and less traveled upon.
(iv) The literary device used is metaphor. The poet compares life to a road. The Fork in the road is compared to the choices one has to make in life.
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.
- What were the physical conditions of both the roads?
- Explain: ’I kept the first for another day’.
- What made the poet ‘doubt’ whether he should never come back?
Ans .(i) The roads were covered with leaves that morning .No one had walked over them, thus crushing the leaves.
(ii) The poet wishes to say that he reserved that ‘profession’ or ‘choice’ for another occasion because no one walk on two roads at the same time.
(iii) He knew that one path would lead to another and he would never return to the path he had not taken and left for another day.
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.
- Why should the poet ‘sigh’? What will the tell with a sigh’?
- What does ‘and I-‘reveal about the poet’s state of mind?
- Explain: ‘And that had made all the difference’.
And.(i) The poet should ‘sigh’ because he wants to walk on the two roads simultaneously. But he can’t do so. He will tell with a ‘sigh’ about the fork that he had come across the woods and how he had taken the road less frequented by people.
(ii) ‘and I-‘ reveals the poet’s regret and hesitation in life. He wants to exercise his choice. But he can’t do sowhen he sees both the avenues equally charming.
(iii) The poet chose the road less traveled and he feels that he has changed the direction of his life.
TEXTUAL QUESTIONS :
Bring out the symbolism in the poem ‘The Road Not Taken’.
Ans . The title of the poem concerns a choice made between two roads by a person while walking out in the woods. He would like to explore both roads. He tells knows that he will probably not be able to do so. By the last stanza we realize that the poem is taking about something more then the choice of the parths in a wood, for that choice might be relatively unimportant. We interpret his choice of a road as a symbol for any choice in life between alternatives that appear almost equally attractive. Through the years, however, we come tofind that the choices we make, and the path we choose, will make a difference in our lives.
Describe the two roads the poet sees. Which road did he choose?
Ans . The poet stood at a road crossing in a forest during autumn. Two roads diverged in different in directions. One road was straight but it bent in the undergrowth after a long distance. The other road looked fair and grassy. Not many men had walked on it. Both the roads thus looked covered in leaves. The poet kept the first road for another day. He hoped that some other day he would walk on it. That day he took the second road. But he never returned to take the first road though he had thought to return to it some day in his life. And this made all the difference in his life.