I sat down with my school going cousin yesterday helping her with one of her vacation assignments which happened to be critical review of ‘The Road Not Taken’ by Robert Frost. The 2 common reviews for this poem have been one that it represents individualism and the other that it’s ironic. However for me this poem though written in 1916 sounded so relevant in today’s world too.
When I read this the first thing I remembered was the folk tales that I have read when I was young. One common story used to be where 2 brothers are sent out by their father to make their own future and they inevitably reach a cross road and stand there wondering which one to take. One brother usually takes the road which looks lush and green and the other one a road which is full of stones and weeds etc. The end of the story is normally of how the brother who chooses the tougher road though initially goes through a lot of hardship finally emerges the hero and married to a princess.
In the same way, life normally gives us these kinds of choices throughout our life and forces us to make choices and it is the people who chose ‘The road not taken’ who emerge maybe as the proponents of a new stream and maybe emerge as the hero of the times. The common juncture that we associate is the time when we are joining Graduation or professional course where choosing the ones that people have found success in are the ones that we normally end up choosing.
However make your opinion by reading this poem from one of the famous poets of the 16th century.
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;
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,
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.
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.