Poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ by Robert Frost: Here you will find stanza wise explanation and analysis of the poem ‘The Road Not Taken’. The explanation has also been given in Hindi to help students understand in their own language by themselves. Click here for more on Class 9 English textbook ‘Beehive’
Meanings of the Words and Phrases
Diverge—to separate and go in a different direction; Wood—forest; Traveller—a person who travels; Fair—nice; Claim—demand, tell or ask as a right to have or own; Better Claim — showing that it is comparatively better; Grassy—full of grass; Though—in spite of something; Lay—placed horizontally; Trodden—walked over; Know—to have information; Doubt—uncertainty; Age—a very long time; Difference—a point or way in which people or things are not same.
Explanation of the Poem
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
It is seemingly autumn time and the poet is standing at a junction in a yellow forest. Here two roads are separated in two different directions. The poet feels sorry that being the lonely traveller, he could not walk on both the roads at the same time. He stood there for a long time and looked at the road down as far as he could. The road then bent and disappeared from his eyes in bushes and the undergrowth.
Here the two roads symbolize two ways to go in life. The poet first thought of travelling both the roads and then discarded the idea. Then he finds himself in a dilemma (not able to decide) about the choice of roads. He found that the first road has bent in the undergrowth (bush). The undergrowth here represents the unknown world.
Then took the other, 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.
The poet selects the other (second) road The second road presented better claim because it was grassy and had not worn off due to walking of the travellers. But then he realises and modifies his thoughts in a comparative mode by saying that as far as the question of their being worn due to walking of the travellers is concerned, both of them had worn in the same way
This stanza suggests that he has an independent spirit and does not wish to follow the crowd or the established norms. He believes in following his own will and volition.
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.
Both the roads lay in front of the poet. They were almost in the same condition. They both are covered with the fallen leaves. The leaves had not been blackened by the steps of the travellers. The poet confirms his decision that he left the first road because he would use it on some other day. But he had doubt if he would ever come back to walk on it. He observes, that he will probably never pass this way again, as one path leads to another, and thus will never have an opportunity to take the other road.
The poet’s decision and doubts symbolise the uncertainty of future which affects the exercise of options available to man. Here the saying ‘Man proposes, God disposes’ is revealed as he wants to come back and try the other option also by traveling on the previously left road but doubts linger if he would be able to do so because of uncertainty of life-journey.
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 travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
The poet does not seem to be very certain about the happy prospects of his choice. It is very difficult to pass the judgement on the spur of the moment. In years to come i.e. in after many years gone in life, the poet says, he will be telling others about the choice he made, meaning that he will talk about what decision in life he took. While doing so, he will sigh, either with relief that he made the right choice, or with regret that he made the wrong choice. Whether right or wrong, the choice he made will have a significant impact on his life.
The poet wants to convey that the choices we make has bearing on our life. Our choices shape our journey and mould our ways. None can escape the effect of choices on life. No one but the choice exerciser himself is responsible for his choices and its significant impact on his life.