Thesis and Outline for the Analysis of the Poem “The Road Not Taken”

The adventure of a person deciding which route to take in a forest setting is captured in Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken." The poem contains a number of literary components that help to better convey its themes. The reader can deduce the true meaning of the poem and the message that the poet is trying to get across by looking at the themes, the setting, the tone, the rhythm, and the symbolic language used.


1. Introduction

Description of the Poem

Purpose of the essay

2. Themes

3. Setting

4. Title

5. Literary Devices

6. Rhythmic Arrangement

7. Conclusion

Analysis of the Poem “The Road Not Taken”


“The Road Not Taken” is a poem that was drafted by Robert Frost. It documents the adventures of the speaker who is forced to stop and consider two paths. Essentially, the persona is compelled to determine which of the paths to take in order to get to their destination. Whereas one of the paths is appealing, the other one is full of grass and seems to have been ignored by most of the travelers. The poem is organized into 5 lines and five stanza and projects a rhythmic congruence. Thematically, the poem captures the choice challenges that human beings undergo and theme of regret in human existence.


There are several themes captured in the poem. Firstly, the poem explores the theme of regret. The speaker determines that he “shall be telling with a sigh/ somewhere ages and ages hence” of the road that he took while ignoring the other one (Frost 8). Similarly, the poem captures the theme of exploration. The speaker indicates that he found himself in a yellow wood. Within the woods, and since he had no map, he had to decide on which path to explore. Lastly, the theme of choice is repeatedly documented in the poem. The speaker indicates that they had to make a choice on what road to pursue and which one to avoid. The choice dilemma that the speaker has revolves around two roads. He had to make a choice on the path that satisfied them more.


The setting of the poem is a forest. Line one in stanza one indicates that “two roads diverged in a yellow wood” (Orr 5). Furthermore, the forest setting is also exhibited in line 5 of the same stanza when the author predicates that there was an undergrowth. All these factors show that the author was in the forest. The mood of the poem “The Road Not Taken” is largely nostalgic. The speaker expresses the sorrow that he has in the knowledge that he may not be able to revisit his steps in the future. The somber note at the end of the poem further projects the nostalgic mood of the poem. The speaker determines that “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”.


The title of the poem is significant since it serves to communicate the lost opportunity that the speaker was subject to when he made a choice to pursue the road that was less trodden. It shows the nonconformity countenance that is assumed by the speaker and is prevalent in the poem. It communicates the complexity of having to make choices and the regrets that follow such initiatives (Orr 12).

Literary Devices

Frost’s poem employs several literary devices. To begin with, the author employs symbolism to communicate the theme of choices. The roads that are alluded to in the poem do not specifically refer to the roads on the streets but rather the journeys of life that man is forced to undertake. The path choices are a metaphorical allusion to the choices that man has to make as they progress and develop in life. Just as is portrayed by the nostalgic setting, such decisions may not always be easy to make. Metaphors are also observed when the speaker alludes to the yellow woods to indicate that it was autumn. Furthermore, in line 5, the speaker speaks of an undergrowth. The undergrowth signifies their unclear future as a result of the two roads. The use of vivid description further enhances the clarity of the theme. The speaker defines his surroundings succinctly and through this, hopes to be able to communicate his choices and desires.

Rhythmic Arrangement

The poem is rhythmically aligned since it has discernible rhyme. Rhyme in the poem serves to give a musicality to the poem which reinforces the indispensability of the theme of choices in our lives (Frost 34). Often times individuals make choices based on previous experiences rather than the assessment of the prevailing situations. It is necessary for one to engage metrics that respond to the prevailing circumstances rather than the regularity of choices. Still, the identity of the speaker in the poem is clear. It is highly likely that the speaker is an old man as the line 6 indicates that the speaker had taken a long time looking at the other road and now it was time that they took the other road. The speaker is introspective, resolute and calm. He takes his time to assess his circumstances and decides to engage a road that was previously avoided.


Conclusively, the narrator extends a lukewarm attitude towards the undertaking of the speaker. Whereas he is concerned about the volatility and irrationality of the choices that are engaged by the speaker, the narrator indicates that the need to make a choice was necessary and that the burdens of the initiative rested with the speaker. He essentially, pities while at the same time vilifies the speaker.

Works Cited

Frost, Robert. The Road Not Taken: An Introduction to Robert Frost . Henry Holt & Co., 1957.

Orr, David. The Road Not Taken: Finding America in the Poem Everyone Loves and Almost Everyone Gets Wrong. Penguin Books, 2016.

Deadline is approaching?

Wait no more. Let us write you an essay from scratch

Receive Paper In 3 Hours
Calculate the Price
275 words
First order 15%
Total Price:
$38.07 $38.07
Calculating ellipsis
Hire an expert
This discount is valid only for orders of new customer and with the total more than 25$
This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Find Out the Cost of Your Paper

Get Price