Literary Analysis of The Road not Taken by Robert Frost

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About this sample


Words: 490 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Mar 18, 2021

Words: 490|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Mar 18, 2021

In this essay I will be looking for examples of poetic devices such as theme, imagey and tone, in the poem created by Robert Frost ‘The Road Not Taken’. As a literary device, the theme of a poem lies in the meaning of the story it tells.It is the central topic or idea explored in a text. Usually the theme of a work of literature can be stated in one word, such as “love” or“sadness”. A poem or text can have more than one theme. The theme is not stated explicitly in the text, but instead is expressed through the characters’ actions, words, and thoughts. This is an excellent example of theme in the poem ‘Road Not Taken’. This is an ambiguous poem that allows the readers to think about choices they make in life. Robert Frost’s work The Road Not Taken conveys a very simple, yet pensive theme. The poem describes the problems and choices one must take in life, and how those specific decisions impact that person. Frost establishes this theme with a depiction of two paths in the woods. Later in the poem, the author reveals the attributes and personality of the main character as he or she ponders past life choices. This characterization helps to bridge the gap between the reader and the character, allowing the poem to communicate a deeper meaning. Frost strengthens the reader’s figurative presence in the poem by presenting such diction and setting of two roads. The use of such devices again add to the connection between the reader and the character-forcing Frost’s message to become even more insightful.

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Another literary aspect Frost utilizes to express his tone in setting. In the poem, he states, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…”. The phrase “a yellow wood” may be a symbolism of the color the trees radiated. This suggests that the story takes place in the middle of autumn, most likely, contributing to the sense that time is running out-as in life-for the character. Here, Frost again outlines his tone as he demonstrates the character’s rational contemplation and, eventually, regret. The author further establishes the setting as, in the second stanza, it states, “Then took the other, as just as fair, / And having perhaps the better claim, / Because it was grassy and wanted wear…”. In this section of the poem, it almost seems as if the character unexpectedly wanted life to desire him or her to enter it, as the poem suggests the grass wanted to be worn down. This is probably one of the reasons why the character feels a sense of regret later in the work. Again, Frost communicates his solemn and contemplative tone by familiarizing the reader with the character’s experiences.

As a result, it can be said that Poetic devices are tools that a poet can use to create or enhance a poem’s meaning, or intensify a mood or feeling. These devices help piece the poem together.

Works Cited

  1. Frost, R. (1916). The Road Not Taken. In Mountain Interval. Henry Holt and Company.
  2. Bloom, H. (Ed.). (2010). Robert Frost (Bloom's Modern Critical Views). Infobase Publishing.
  3. Pritchard, W. H. (1966). Frost: A Literary Life Reconsidered. Oxford University Press.
  4. Lentricchia, F. (1997). Robert Frost: Modern Poetics and the Landscapes of Self. Duke University Press.
  5. Galbraith, H. W. (1978). Robert Frost's Poetry of Motion. The Sewanee Review, 86(3), 448-465.
  6. Fagan, D. L. (2015). The Road Not Taken: Finding America in the Poem Everyone Loves and Almost Everyone Gets Wrong. The University Press of New England.
  7. Thompson, L. B. (1996). Robert Frost: The Years of Triumph, 1915-1938. St. Martin's Press.
  8. Evans, W. R. (2012). The Theme of Identity in Robert Frost's Poetry: The Road Not Taken and Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. In M. Schaub (Ed.), Poetry Criticism (Vol. 136, pp. 146-160). Gale.
  9. Poirier, R. (1997). Robert Frost: The Work of Knowing. Oxford University Press.
  10. Paraskevas, J. A. (2012). The Poetry of Robert Frost: The Collected Poems. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Literary Analysis Of The Road Not Taken By Robert Frost. (2021, March 18). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from
“Literary Analysis Of The Road Not Taken By Robert Frost.” GradesFixer, 18 Mar. 2021,
Literary Analysis Of The Road Not Taken By Robert Frost. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 May 2024].
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