Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Road Not Taken

ravenna,seattle,the road not taken
Here is a famous and oft analyzed poem: Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken". This poem, I think, begs to be analyzed -- and not just in English class. The reason: It's genuinely puzzling. Even as a kid, it played at my mind. Frost seemed to be telling us that taking the less traveled road -- metaphorically, one supposes -- had made all the difference in his life. And yet there are hints in those early lines that he's not sure those roads are different at all.

This poem has often been considered a call to make the lone, less popular choices in life, or a celebration of individualism (two things which I think are in fact not the same). There are some that see the poem in a more radically different light. Could Frost have simply been poking fun at his walking partner? There are lines that might suggest this, but ultimately I think the tone is one of idealism, not mockery. I think the poet himself might have had conflicting thoughts and feelings about roads taken and untaken, and what they meant. Don't we all? Doesn't everyone see those roads in different lights as we walk along them?

Ans as I write that, my eyes are drawn to shifting patterns of light on the picture, where two roads divergent along a not yet yellow Ravenna Woods...