Summary of “The Road Not Taken.”

Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken,” leaves its readers with many different ways to interpret its meaning. The reader’s life experiences in the past, present, and outlook on the future will determine how the reader will interpret this poem. Although the interpretation may vary from reader to reader, the basic meaning is about life choices. This poem is about a life struggle: the inability to take two paths at once.
In the first stanza, the emphasis is on the road that was not traveled. Frost wants to travel both roads, but he cannot ”and be one traveler.” There is a strong sense of regret before the choice is made because he knows that in one lifetime he cannot travel down every road. Before making the final decision on which path to take, the traveler “looked down one as far as I could.” The destination of the road that is not chosen is unknown. Although he strains his eyes to see as far as he can, he will never know where that road might have led him.
He takes the other road that is “grassy and wanted wear.” The road he chooses has a “better claim,” because it is the road that is less traveled on. By taking this road, a clue to his


personality is revealed. He is the type of person that wants to try something new and different.
In the third stanza, the leaves that cover the ground have not been stepped on and “no step had trodden black,” indicates that no one has walked down the road since the leaves have fallen, therefore describing a road not traveled. ”I kept the first for another day,” relates to his desire to travel down both paths. “knowing how way leads on to way,” means that he is aware that all future life choices will be affected because of the road he chooses to travel. In this stanza he realizes that once his decision is made there is no turning back.
At the end of the poem, “I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and somewhere hence,” reveals he knows someday he will look back and have some regrets that he did not go back and take the other road. Although it seems that he is unhappy with his decision, he is not. “I took the road less traveled by, And that has made all the difference,” means that he does not regret choosing the less traveled road because if he had not, he would not have had the life experiences that he did.
This poem allows readers with different life experiences to relate to the basic meaning of the poem. It is a reminder that one decision in life can change everything and that when we don’t go back and travel down the “other” road, we might have some regrets later on after it is too late.