The Road Not Taken is a popular poem included in CBSE Class 9 textbook ‘Beehive’. We provide here its line-by-line stanza explanations in both Hindi and English, making it easier for students to understand the deeper meaning and significance behind each verse.
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A Brief Explanation of ‘The Road Not Taken’
This poem “The Road Not Taken” was written by Robert Frost. The poem describes a moment in the speaker’s (poet’s) life when he comes to a fork in the road and have to choose which path to take. The speaker is sorry that he cannot take both paths and be in two places at once.
In the first stanza, the speaker describes the fork in the road and how he stood there for a long time, looking down one path as far as he could see it disappearing into the undergrowth. The use of the colour yellow to describe the wood suggests that it may be autumn, which is a season of change and transition.
In the second stanza, the speaker decides to take the other path that appears to be just as nice as the first but has more grass on it, indicating that it is less travelled. However, the speaker acknowledges that both paths are similarly worn, so the decision is not straightforward.
In the third stanza, the speaker notices that both paths are covered in leaves that have not been disturbed by anyone else’s footsteps. The speaker regrets not being able to take the other path but realizes that the choice he made will lead them down a new path in life.
In the final stanza, the speaker reflects on how their choice has made a difference in their life, even though he does not know what would have happened if he had taken the other path. The use of the phrase “sigh” suggests a feeling of regret, but the speaker ultimately embraces the choice he made.
The poem is often interpreted as a metaphor for making choices in life. The speaker’s decision to take the road less travelled by represents the idea of taking a risk and doing something different from what everyone else is doing. The poem suggests that this kind of choice can have a significant impact on one’s life and can lead to new and unexpected opportunities.
Overall, this poem is about the choices we make in life and how they can change our path. The speaker faces a difficult decision but ultimately takes a path that is less travelled, which has made all the difference in his life. The poem encourages us to embrace our choices and be willing to take risks to discover new opportunities and also be ready to face and bear consequences of decisions.
Stanza Wise Explanation of ‘The Road Not Taken’
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;
- Diverged: went in different directions
- Yellow wood: forest or woods that are covered in yellow leaves. The colour suggests that it is either autumn or early winter.
- Traveller: a person who is on a journey
- Undergrowth: small bushes, plants, and trees that grow close together on the forest floor
- Bent: curved or turned in a different direction
This stanza is from the poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. It describes a situation where the speaker is faced with a choice between two roads that diverge, or split apart, in a forest that is covered in yellow leaves.
“yellow wood” refers to a forest or woods that are covered in yellow leaves. The specific type of tree that is shedding these yellow leaves is not mentioned, but the colour suggests that it is either autumn or early winter.
The speaker expresses regret that he cannot take both paths and be in two places at once. He spends a long time standing and looking at one of the roads, trying to see as far as he can down it. The road eventually bends, or curves, and disappears into the bushes and low trees.
The Theme of the poem is about making choices and the unknown consequences that come with them. The speaker must decide which road to take, and their choice will determine their future path. This decision is not easy, and the speaker is hesitant, as he knows or may be not as what lies ahead on either road.
Then took the other, 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.
- Fair: pleasing to the eye; attractive
- Claim: something that is believed to be deserved or owned
- Grassy: covered with grass
- Wanted: lacking; needing something
- Wear: damage caused by use or exposure
In this stanza, the speaker is talking about two paths that are in front of them. Both paths look very similar and are equally attractive in appearance. However, the speaker decides to take the second path because it looks like it hasn’t been walked on as much and needs to be used more.
The speaker acknowledges that the second path may actually be the better choice, despite being less travelled, because it appears to have more potential for growth and development. But, in reality, both paths have been worn down about the same amount by people who have passed by before.
The stanza is about making a choice between two options that appear very similar. The speaker made a decision based on his assumptions and interpretations of the situation, but later realized that the assumptions were not entirely accurate. It highlights the idea that appearances can be deceiving and encourages the reader to think more critically before making decisions based solely on surface-level observations.
- Poem Summary & Meanings in Hindi/English
- Poetic Devices
- Textbook Solutions
- Extract Based MCQs/Objective Questions
- Extra Question Answers
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.
- Equally: In the same way or to the same extent.
- Lay: in a particular position or place.
- Trodden: Walked on or over; trampled.
- Black: In this context, the absence of colour caused by the leaves not having been stepped on.
- Kept: thought of using in future
- Way: A path or route
- Leads: Guides or directs someone or something to a particular place or course of action.
- Doubted: To have been uncertain or sceptical about something.
In this stanza, the speaker reflects on the fact that both paths looked equally new and untouched, with no evidence of anyone having walked on them before that day. The speaker then reveals that he chose to take the first path, but now regrets not taking the second one.
The speaker acknowledges that he had intended to come back and explore the other path on a different day, but recognizes that life is unpredictable and doubts that he may never have the opportunity to do so. The phrase “way leads on to way” suggests that once a choice is made, it can have a ripple effect on future decisions and lead the speaker down a completely different path than he had intended.
The stanza emphasizes the importance of making thoughtful decisions, as the consequences of a choice may not always be immediately clear and can have a lasting impact on one’s life. The idea that “way leads on to way” highlights the fact that every choice has consequences that can shape our future, and sometimes we may not get the chance to go back and make a different choice.
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.
- Sigh: To exhale audibly as a sign of strong emotion, such as sadness or relief.
- Ages: A long period of time, usually many years.
- Hence: From this point in time or from this place forward.
- Two roads diverged in a wood: The speaker of the poem comes to a fork in the road where two paths diverge and has to choose which path to take.
- I took the one less travelled by: The speaker chooses to take the path that appears to be less travelled, perhaps suggesting a willingness to take risks or make unconventional choices.
- That has made all the difference: The speaker reflects on the choice they made and how it has affected their life, suggesting that even small choices can have a significant impact on our lives.
In this final stanza, the speaker looks back on the choice he made between the two paths and expresses that he will always remember it with a sense of nostalgia and regret (“with a sigh”).
The speaker imagines telling the story of their decision “ages and ages hence” – a long time in the future – suggesting that the choice was significant enough to stay with them for a lifetime.
The famous lines “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference” emphasize that the speaker took the path that was not as popular or well-travelled as the other, and that choice had a significant impact on the course of their life. The last line suggests that the speaker is content with the choice he made, and that it was a positive influence on their life.
The use of the word “difference” suggests that the speaker’s life would have turned out differently if he had chosen the more popular path. The stanza expresses the idea that even seemingly small choices can have a significant impact on our lives, and that taking a travelled path can lead to unexpected and positive outcomes.
Overall, the stanza highlights the importance of making choices and taking risks, even if they are uncertain or unconventional. The speaker’s decision to take the road less travelled by represents the idea of individualism and forging one’s own path in life.