When Reality Kicked In

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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It was not until my 21st birthday this past week that I realized which path I was going down. The typical sorority girl, I had to celebrate my birthday in style; going to the bar and getting trashed as any other 21 year old in this country would do. However, the next day, after all the vomiting and being fatigue; I came the conclusion that I didn't want my life like that anymore. What will I have to look back on in my life; a drunken blur spent with my friends, or a degree in Liberal Arts? The same thing came be said of Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" where the poet has the choice between two roads; in which he must discover what each road offers and the results that will become of his decision.

Metaphors have two forms in this poem. "Road" is used to represent a path of life, and the fact that there are two different roads means that there are important decisions that have to be made in life.

The other being "travel" used to symbolize the decision making process. Frost describes the dilemma in the first four lines of the stanza; "The roads diverged in a yellow wood/ And sorry I could not travel both/ And be one traveler, long I stood/ And looked down one far as I could. (DiYanni 52) This is the first real example that the paths we choose in life will define our destiny, and matter-of-factly the rest of our existence on this earth.

The second stanza implies that the speaker decides to follow the less traveled road. This road seems to have more grass, more scenery, and it seems that it has not been the universal road to take. This is meant to symbolize that the speaker has decided to further a life that few before him have. Since this road is less traveled, Frost presents the dilemma of mankind; and that is, why journey down the road that everyone else has? Why make the same choices that everyone else does and have the same consequences that they have had from the more traveled road? However, in the third stanza, Frost tells the reader that he has decided to put the less traveled road on the 'back burner.' We all know that every road traveled on will eventually come to an intersection and that we are allowed to continue on the road or try different paths from what we had originally chosen. There is always a way back to the original destination.

The last stanza, like the first, tells of how Frost is going to take the road less traveled. Although it always sits in the back of his mind how the other road may have been to take; the knowledge that he would have encountered and the different 'scenery' that was to come at the end of the road. The road less traveled was the choice that Frost made and it evidently was the greatest achievement he makes for the last verse of the poem states "And that has made all the difference." (DiYanni 53) There are a lot of different interpretations that can be taken from this poem. Frost, overall, tried to make a collective understanding for every reader that ingests the poem. There is nothing of moral judgment written in this poem; it is just an overview of how choosing a path leads somehow to change the direction in which their life is going from what might have been. This allows the common reader to relate to the poem in some way or another. In some ways, the reader is left to have pity on Frost. After all, the way the poem is written makes it sound like Frost is misinterpreted by society; cheated because he does not follow the others done the ragged, universal path. A good example of this would be in the last stanza when Frost allows a 'sigh.' The sigh could be given as a sigh of relief, or a sigh of despair; that perhaps he was not making the right decision after all. But in reality; it seems at though we will never know the difference between the roads we take and the roads we leave behind. Sometimes there is not much difference between the two paths that lay ahead; one may have more wear than the other, but that does not mean that that road is necessarily better.

The leaves that have drifted from the trees lay abreast both of the paths so we know that neither one of the roads had been put to use. To put this into perspective, the choice in this circumstance makes all the difference. Not what the scenery is or how much travel has been put into the road, but rather the actual decision a person makes to travel the road to begin with. Without making a choice, someone could never know, nor realize, the result of the decision is.

I have made some pretty stupid decisions in my life. A few of them have been costly, a few of them I have been able to salvage myself thanks to my parents. See, I have traveled down the good roads and the bad roads. I have traveled down the roads that everyone else in my life has taken. And in the end I realize that I really should have been the outcast; the one to walk alone on the road less traveled.

So ultimately I will have to agree with Frost; and take the road not taken.