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Symbol Analysis

You might not associate roads with nature, but remember, we're talking about a Robert Frost poem here. We're not talking highways – highways didn't even exist when this poem was written. Instead, this poem centers on two roads (more like paths) going through the woods in autumn. Nature in this poem sets the scene, and could hold metaphorical meaning as well.

  • Line 1: This line gives us the setting of the poem. The speaker tells us the woods are yellow, so we can infer that it's autumn. The metaphorical significance of this poem taking place in autumn could be that the speaker is making this choice in the fall of his life, when he's beginning to grow old.
  • Line 5: We find out here that these woods must be pretty thick, because a road can disappear in the undergrowth. Metaphorically, the undergrowth could represent aspects of the speaker's future that are unclear.
  • Lines 7-8: The speaker is biased in favor of nature. He thinks one path could be better because fewer people have worn it down. These lines are not just about nature, but are a metaphor for a decision that is less commonly made.
  • Lines 11-12: Here, we see the autumn imagery continue, and we find out that it's morning. We also see a contradiction of the earlier claim that one path is less worn than the other. This line shows us that the leaves have freshly fallen – perhaps masking which path was more or less traveled the day before. So, metaphorically, this line points out that sometimes there's no way to tell which decision is better.
  • Line 18: The first line is repeated here. The detail that the woods are yellow is left out, but the repetition shows that nature is still important to the speaker.

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