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Robert Frost. “The Road Not Taken”. History of Robert Frost. Born in 1874 in San Francisco, California to William Frost and Isabelle Moody Father died when Frost was 11 Journalist Mother is Scottish School teacher Lived in Lawrence, Massachusetts with grandfather William Prescott Frost

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robert frost

Robert Frost

“The Road Not Taken”

history of robert frost
History of Robert Frost
  • Born in 1874 in San Francisco, California to William Frost and Isabelle Moody
  • Father died when Frost was 11
    • Journalist
  • Mother is Scottish
    • School teacher
  • Lived in Lawrence, Massachusetts with grandfather William Prescott Frost
    • Grandfather gave Frost good education
  • Graduated in 1892-attended Dartmouth college for short time
history cont d
History (cont’d)
  • Many jobs
    • Working in textile mill
    • Latin teacher
    • Cobbler
    • Farmer
    • School teacher
  • Married Elinor White in 1895
    • 6 children
  • Studied at Harvard-left with no degree
  • Poems rejected by Atlantic Monthly
    • Sold farm and moved family to England afterwards
      • First poem published in England at age 39
history cont d1
History (cont’d)
  • Returned to U.S. in 1915 with family
    • Bought another farm in Franconia, New Hampshire
  • Atlantic Monthly asked for Frost’s poems
    • Turned in previously rejected poems
  • 1916-made member of National Institute of Arts and Letters
  • 1916-third collection of poems published
    • Mountain Interval
      • “The Road Not Taken”
      • “The Oven Bird”
      • “Birches”
      • “The Hill Wife”
    • Deep appreciation of nature and sensibility about human ambitions
    • Images taken from everyday life
history cont d2
History (cont’d)
  • 1920-purchased farm in South Shaftsbury, Vermont
  • 1938-wife died along with 4 of his children
    • Other 2 daughters had mental breakdowns
    • Son had committed suicide
    • Frost suffered depression
  • 1961-read 2 original poems at inauguration of President John F. Kennedy
  • Death-January 29, 1963
frost s rewards honors
Frost’s Rewards/Honors
  • 1949-Saimpson Lecturer for Life
  • 1950-Tribute from the U.S. Senate
  • 1953-Tribute from American Academy of Poets
  • 1956-Tribute from New York University
  • 1958-Tribute from Huntington Hartford Foundation
  • 1958-made poetry consultant for Library of Congress
  • 1962-Congressional Gold Medal
  • 1962-Edward MacDowell Medal
history of the road not taken
History of “The Road Not Taken”
  • Frost claims to have written it about Edward Thomas-friend
  • Walked many times through woods outside London
  • While walking in woods they would come to 2 paths
    • Thomas always wondered what other path would’ve brought
  • Poem seems to say choice is inevitable
  • Don’t know what choices mean until living them
stanzas 1 2
Stanzas 1-2
  • First stanza-describes the situation
    • Frost describes his position physically
    • Looks down the roads for a long time
      • Trying to make decision
  • Second stanza-choice is made
    • Chose the path that seemed to be less traveled
      • Both actually had about the same wear but not entirely the same
stanzas 3 4
Stanzas 3-4
  • Third stanza-continues to describe the paths
    • Fresh fallen leaves on both
    • May come back to walk the first
      • Doubted he would be able to
    • One thing in life leads to another and time is limited
  • Fourth stanza-”Sigh” and “Difference”
    • Trickiest piece of the poem
    • “Difference” is neither positive or negative-hasn’t been lived through yet
    • “Sigh” may be of relief or regret-don’t know because Frost hasn’t lived through the choice he made
    • One choice can make “all the difference” in a person’s future
literary analysis
Literary Analysis
  • Diverged- move, lie, or extend in different directions from a common point, branch off
  • Undergrowth-low-lying vegetation or small trees growing beneath larger trees, underbrush
  • Trodden-a mark (as a footprint or imprint of a tire)
  • Claim-to demand by or by virtue of a right, demand as a right or a due
the road not taken

The Road Not Taken

By Robert Frost


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;


Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim

Because it was grassy and wanted wear,

Though as for the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,


And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I marked the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way

I doubted if I should ever come back.


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.