ZEN PENCILS » 60. ROBERT FROST: The road not taken

Even if you haven't yet read "The Road Not Taken," it will probably have a familiar ring when you do – it's one of the most popular poems by one of the most famous American writers of the twentieth century, . Along with Frost's poem "," it's probably one of the most taught poems in American schools. First published in Frost's collection in 1916, almost a century later "The Road Not Taken" is still quoted left and right by inspirational speakers, writers, commercials, and everyday people.

We could go on and on about how famous this poem is, but, since it is famous, you probably already know that.

What you might not know is that this poem may not be as simple and uplifting as it seems. While "The Road Not Taken" is often read as a resounding nonconformist's credo, the poem isn't so sure about its message. In fact, sometimes it flat out contradicts itself.

But the possibility that the poem has multiple meanings doesn't mean that it's not worthy of its popularity. Actually, the poem's ambiguity improves it. Read closely, this poem is more than popular culture has made it out to be. It's more than a call to go your own way; it's a reflection on life's hard choices and unknowns.

The Road Not Taken: Summary & Theme - Video & …

11/01/2018 · The Road Not Taken - Kindle edition by Max Boot

PLEASE Stop Misinterpreting “The Road Not Taken”

Now, five years after his address, he was bringing to Amherst someone outside the usualacademic orbit, a poet who lacked even a college degree. But despite - or perhaps becauseof - this lack, the poet had escaped triviality, was an original mind who knew aboutliving by ideas. For he had written among other poems "The Road Not Taken,"given pride of place in the just-published as not only its firstpoem but also printed in italics, as though to make it also a preface to and motto for thepoems which followed. It was perfect for Meiklejohn's purposes because it was no idlereverie, no escape through lovely language into a soothing dream world, but a poem ratherwhich announced itself to be "about" important issues in life: about the natureof choice, of decision, of how to go in one direction rather than another and how to feelabout the direction you took and didn't take. For President Meiklejohn and for theassembled students at compulsory chapel, it might have been heard as a stirring instanceof what the "liberal college" was all about, since it showed how, instead ofacceding to the petty pleasures, the "countless trivial and vulgar amusements"offered by the world or the money-god or the values of the marketplace, an individualcould go his own way, live his own life, read his own books, take the less traveled road:

Poetry Analysis of The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

What the president could hardly have imagined, committed as he was in high seriousnessto making the life of the college truly an intellectual one, was the unruliness of Frost'sspirit and its unwillingness to be confined within the formulas - for Meiklejohn, theywere the truths - of the "liberal college." On the first day of the new year,1917, just preparatory to moving his family down from the Franconia farm into a house inAmherst, Frost wrote Untermeyer about where the fun lay in what he, Frost, thought of as"intellectual activity":

'The Road Not Taken' by Robert Frost is a well-known poem about the journey of life
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Misconceptions: “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost – …

Religious belief. Historically it has been a religious rationale that has underpinned much thinking about this about this question. If we were to look at Catholic social teaching, for example, we find that at its heart lays a concern for human dignity. This starts from the position that, ‘human beings, created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27), have by their very existence an inherent value, worth, and distinction’ (Groody 2007). Each life is considered sacred and cannot be ignored or excluded. As we saw earlier, Kant argued something similar with regard to ‘respect for persons’. All are worthy of respect and the chance to flourish.

Themes in The Road Not Taken, analysis of key The Road Not Taken themes

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If we are to believe Frost and his biographer, "The Road Not Taken"was intended to serve as Frost's gentle jest at Thomas's expense. But the poemmight have had other targets. One such target was a text by another poet who ina different sense might also be considered a "friend": Henry WadsworthLongfellow, whose poem, "My Lost Youth," had provided Frost with the title he chose for his first book.

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The poem leaves one wondering how much "difference" is implied by giventhat the "roads" already exist, that possibilities are limited. Exhaustedpossibilities of human experience diminish great regret over "the road nottaken" or bravado for "the road not taken" by everyone else. The poem doesraise questions about whether there is any justice in the outcome of one's choices oranything other than aesthetics, being "fair," in our moral decisions. Thespeaker's impulse to individuation is mitigated by a moral dilemma of being unfair orcruel, in not stepping on leaves, "treading" enough to make them "black." It might also imply the speaker's recognition that individuation will mean treadingon others.