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"My home boys drink juice from the pond." - Curlylights02

The Road Not Taken

  • Date Submitted: 12/05/2011 05:45 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 68.4 
  • Words: 1130
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The second one that he took seems less traveled, but as he thinks about it, he realizes that they were “really about the same.” Not exactly that same but only “about the same.”

Third Stanza – Continues Description of Roads
The third stanza continues with the cogitation about the possible differences between the two roads. He had noticed that the leaves were both fresh fallen on them both and had not been walked on, but then again claims that maybe he would come back and also walk the first one sometime, but he doubted he would be able to, because in life one thing leads to another and time is short.

Fourth Stanza – Two Tricky Words
The fourth stanza holds the key to the trickiness of the poem:

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 traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Those who interpret this poem as suggesting non-conformity take the word “difference” to be a positive difference. But there is nothing in the poem that suggests that this difference signals a positive outcome. The speaker could not offer such information, because he has not lived the “difference” yet.

The other word that leads readers astray is the word “sigh.” By taking “difference” to mean a positive difference, they think that the sigh is one of nostalgic relief; however, a sigh can also mean regret. There is the “oh, dear” kind of sigh, but also the “what a relief” kind of sigh. Which one is it?

If it is the relief sigh, then the difference means the speaker is glad he took the road he did; if it is the regret sigh, then the difference would not be good, and the speaker would be sighing in regret. But the plain fact is that the poem does not identify the nature of that sigh. The speaker of the poem does not even know the nature of that sigh, because that sigh and his evaluation of the difference his choice will make are still in the future. It is a truism that any...

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