The Road Not Taken

Indecision may or may not be this man's biggest problem. All he can do is go left or right. It's not that big of a deal...or is it?

American Literature20th-Century American Literature
All American Literature
AuthorFrost - Robert Frost
FormPoem
LanguageEnglish Language
LiteratureAmerican Literature
PoetryPoetry
ThemesChoices
Dreams, Hopes, and Plans
Man and the Natural World

Transcript

00:19

you that Robert Frost’s famous poem The Road Not Taken is about exploring new trails

00:23

and challenging ourselves.

00:24

But is that guy in the woods really such a trailblazer?

00:29

He looks at one road, and it looks great…

00:32

…then he looks at the other, and it also looks pretty good…

00:37

…and he wishes he could just do both…

00:39

...and it takes him about two and a half stanzas to decide that they’re… really about the

00:45

same…

00:45

…so if the roads aren’t all that different, and he doesn’t feel that great about his

00:50

choice… what’s this poem actually about?

00:53

The value of being… wishy-washy?

00:54

All right, you’ve probably got something in common with that guy who just can’t decide

00:59

what to do.

01:00

What are your roads?

01:02

Maybe you’re deciding between colleges…

01:04

You can go to a small private liberal arts school, with tiny class sizes and long class

01:09

discussions…

01:09

…where you see everyone you know on a daily basis, and live a short walk from all your

01:13

friends …

01:14

…or you can go to a big school, have a ton of majors and classes to choose from…

01:19

…and be able to stand out when you want… or hide in the crowd.

01:25

Maybe that’s why Robert Frost’s speaker heaves a big ol’ sigh and just takes one

01:29

of the roads already…

01:29

…and then spends the rest of the poem thinking about how he could have taken the other.

01:34

So is this poem really about taking the path… less traveled… and never looking back?

01:40

Maybe it’s more about how hard it is to make a decision…

01:43

…but you still have to… ‘cause in life, you can’t do it all.

01:47

And it’s not like taking the road less traveled has made all the difference in a good way…

01:52

…it’s just that the speaker knows that if he had taken the other path, it would have

01:55

been a completely different experience…

01:57

…and it’s kind of a bummer that he can’t do both.

01:59

What do you think?

02:00

Is this poem about going after your dreams?

02:03

Or about not regretting your decisions?

02:05

Shmoop amongst yourselves.