The Road Not Taken — Frost's Message?



This classic piece is a favorite of many, but I believe we've spent years misunderstanding Frost's intended message.

I remember the first time I read "The Road Not Taken" as a young English student. I immediately identified with the mystery component – what might be down the other road. As so many before me, I assumed the poem was about making choices and not following the crowd. I had already developed a bohemian nature that made its words a mirror of who I wanted to be, and now think I have become; but I understand that I and those before me had been wrong about Frost’s message. It feels like “ages and ages” since my high school years and I have delighted in Frost’s words over and over, but with a far more developed understanding of the message he likely intended.

I do not believe Frost was attempting to moralize about choices as if the right choice would result in a positive sigh and difference in his future; and the wrong choice, a negative sigh and difference. Interestingly, as Frost described the two roads laid before him, he did not imply that there was an option to avoid choosing between them. So it is in life — choice is inevitable. I have made many choices in my life and they have all put me on a path – the road I have taken – and the cumulative consequence of the decisions and choices I have made is yet unwritten.

The fact that the two roads before Frost were “really about the same” indicates that it is not so much whether we have made the right choice, but what we choose to do about the choices we have made. I do not claim to have done everything right in my life but I certainly do not want to live apologetically for the choices I have made. Every road I have taken, every success I have had, and every mistake I have made has brought me to this point and I do not look back with regret – except maybe for not having written something as eloquent as "The Road Not Taken."

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