“The Road Not Taken” or the one ‘less traveled’
Last week I was subbing for a senior English class at one of the American schools in Haiti. The sub plan was to go over with the students Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken”. I know I have read this poem, but (sorry Mrs. Brooks) I don’t remember analyzing it in high school!
“THE ROAD NOT TAKEN”
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;
Through 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.
It seemed fitting as I have some big decisions coming up…
The students and I read through the poem together and discussed it stanza by stanza. We evaluated each of the roads; talked about if they thought one was better than the other, did one seem more interesting? Finally we talked about how the traveler made up his mind and how the poem relates to our own lives.
The last question on the sub sheet I was to ask the students was this:
“Why did he lie in stanza four?”
Well I can tell you I did not ask the students this question, because after reading through the poem a number of times, I could not figure out the answer. How did he lie??? I wasn’t really sure…”Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” He took the road less traveled; don’t we all take the road less traveled by at some point?
When the teacher returned (a teacher with a degree in English I just want to add), he discussed the poem with me and helped me understand it a bit more. I had a whole new understanding.
“Then took the other, as just as fair,”
“Thought as for that the passing there had worn them really about the same,”
“And both that morning equally lay”
After discussing and re reading, I realized the above three statements lead the reader to believe-although the paths may look different-they were traveled just as equally!
“I took the one less traveled by.” There’s the lie. The roads where traveled the same. “just as fair” “about the same” “equally lay”
So why is it so often boastfully said ‘oh I took the road less traveled’?! How do we really know? When time comes to make those big decisions, we feel we have discernment, we are confident in our decision; but can we really say we are taking the road less traveled?
Sometimes only when we are past our decisions and the road has been chosen, “Somewhere ages and ages hence;” after our choices are over and lived out we are able to look back at our decision and say we came to a fork in the road and not knowing it at the time, “I took the one less traveled by,”
As life continues, we come to new decisions, “Yet knowing how way leads on to way.” One path brings us to the next one, and again we are forced to make a decision.
Why do we want to be able to say we chose the one less traveled by? To show we have courage, to blaze our own trail? I suppose the motives of each of us are different, no two snowflakes are made the same. We each look down our roads as they divulge before us and make our decisions, leaving behind us “wanted wear” of our paths.
Whatever the road we choose, no matter right or wrong, one thing will always be the same-our choices, each and every one of them will make all the difference,
“And that has made all the difference.”
Whether we take “The Road Not Taken” or “the one less traveled by” we must be confident in our decision, in our own ability to discern which path is right for us.
For me, I trust God, trust the plan He has for me and know that for that reason, whatever path I choose will be the right one.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”
Good luck to you in your decisions, I hope you make the right ones as I pray for myself I am making the right ones…
Posted on December 3, 2012, in 2012 and tagged blessed, courage, decisions, English Lit, Haiti, Jeremiah 29:11, Poetry analysis, Robert Frost, the road less traveled, The Road Not Taken. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.