English notes - The Road Not Taken (poem)

I have spent weeks refining down my notes on my poems for the Higher English exams, this document is the result of that. I thought I'd share them as it is often very difficult to get any concise information on poems.

These notes are a scaled down to the point set of notes on the poem: The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

What is covered?:
• Close look at stanzas
• Theme
• Meter/rhyme
• Tone
• Anapaests
• Mood change
• Poem meaning
• Background

How to use this file?:
On the first page the arrows link to the text in the second column which expand on what these lines mean.

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  • Created by: Visser
  • Created on: 08-05-10 18:14
Preview of English notes - The Road Not Taken (poem)

First 204 words of the document:

THE ROAD NOT TAKEN, ROBERT FROST
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, 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 that, 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 kept 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 travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
RHYME SCHEME: abaab
STANZAS: 4, (5 lines each)
The meter and rhyme scheme place a lot of emphasis on the words at the ends of the lines.
STANZA ONE

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Page 2

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THE ROAD NOT TAKEN, ROBERT FROST
Rhyme scheme focuses in: standing and looking down the possible roads. Sets up the theme of the poem: choice.
STANZA TWO
Expressing something of a thought process.
Focuses on this idea that the road he wants to choose is the one that looks less taken and less worn.
Resolves both the stanza and situation.…read more

Page 3

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THE ROAD NOT TAKEN, ROBERT FROST
Internal couplet: focus in and thoughtful of what the poet is saying there
Last line: resolution of stanza
CONVERSATIONAL/COLLOQUIAL TONE (STORY NOT POEM):
Technical, strict meter: playing with it to give a very informal tone. Blank verse which having no meter might be expected to
be more naturalistic, but here Frost shows that a skilled poet can actually take meter and pacing etc. and use it to make the
poem sound even more natural and colloquial.…read more

Page 4

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THE ROAD NOT TAKEN, ROBERT FROST
Dismisses it on observation: worn them really about the same and equally lay. Poet goes out of his way to tell us these two paths
don't look more or less travelled.
STANZA 4
Full of drama and self reflection and sighing, the road that looked just like the other is now the road 'less' travelled by and
making a difference is clearly important, it is something key to an idea of individualism.…read more

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