Symbolism In The Road Not Taken

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There will come a time in every person’s life where he has to make a decision that could alter his life forever. In fact, this exact situation may occur multiple times in his existence. In trying to make the right choices, a person might weigh both options and take into account all the possible effects and arguments for each. For example, when he was growing up, Robert Frost would take strolls with his friend, Edward Thomas, who would constantly face the struggle of choosing the right path and would always worry about whether he made the right decision. In his poem, “The Road Not Taken,” Frost portrays this relatable clash of choices. Going to the woods to make a serious decision, a lonely traveler torn between two paths fears choosing wrong.…show more content…
Frost utilizes analogous imagery throughout his poems; specifically in this poem, he uses natural imagery like the woods and roads to signify these themes. The woods represent indecision and instinct. Everywhere in literature, the plots of novels and poems alike contain characters lost in the woods. Similarly, in “The Road Not Taken”, the woods represent indecision while an adrift traveler wanders lost in the woods (Rukhaya). Frost repeatedly uses this symbol, and “the image...has represented indecision in Frost’s other poems…‘Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening,’ ‘Birches,’ and ‘Mowing’” (Rukhaya). The woods can also dually represent self-reliance and nonconformity. By acknowledging his choice in the woods alone, the traveler shows that he is willing to “oppose social norms” (Rukhaya) and rely on his own instinct to come to a decision. As an extended metaphor for choice, it makes sense that the roads represent the journey of life and decision. There are two roads, two choices, and two representations of decision. The first road caught in the undergrowth “indicates entanglement with obstacles” (Rukhaya) which can get in the way of making decisions and sway judgement. People must learn to ignore the obstacles and depend on self-reliance to come to a conclusion. Grassy and in need of…show more content…
In “The Road Not Taken” a traveler goes to the woods to find himself and make a decision based on self-reliance. The setting of the poem relays this overall message. Providing the mood of the poem, the setting of nature brings a tense feeling to “The Road Not Taken”. With yellow woods in the midst of the forest, the setting “combines a sense of wonder at the beauty of the natural world with a sense of frustration as the individual tries to find a place for himself within nature’s complexity” (“The Road Not Taken”). The setting is further evidence signifying the tense and meditative mood of the poem as well as in making choices. Each year after summer, a herd of all things new descends upon the planet. New school year, new trees, and new choices are all among this herd of novelty. At the beginning of the poem, Robert Frost references “a yellow wood”. This “suggests that the poem is set in autumn...woods...full of trees that had grown after older ones had been decimated” (Robinson); just as one forest replaces another, there are two choices, and the traveler, only able to make one, decimates the other (Robinson). Additionally, “defining the wood with one feature prefigures one of the essential ideas of the poem: the insistence that a single decision can transform a life” (Robinson). This one feature, the yellow leaves, and in it the sole definition of
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