LEARN A WORD A DAY

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Road Not Taken - More Analysis

The dramatic situation is clear and easily stated. All readers say to themselves, "Yes, I've been in that situation and had to make a similar choice." The speaker of the four stanzas of iambic tetrameter describes walking in the woods and arriving at a fork in the road. Presumably it is autumn since the wood is yellow, and fallen leaves blanket the two roads.

The time is morning and the speaker is afoot, not in an automobile. He remarks that "no step had trodden black" the leaves that cover both roads.

"And sorry I could not travel both/ And be one traveler," he considers long and makes a choice. The road he selects is "grassy and wanted wear." He thinks someday he might come back and walk the other road, "Yet knowing how way leads on to way,/ I doubted if I should ever come back."

Clearly, the choice of road taken and not taken symbolizes an important, life-changing decision. The first kind that comes to mind is a choice of profession. Other possibilities might be whether or not (or whom) to marry. "Morning" suggests the speaker is in young adulthood, the age when such critical choices face most people. This symbolic interpretation of time of day to time of life is reasonable and has ample precedent. To insist, for instance, that "morning" is a pun on "mourning" would not be at all plausible since nothing else in the poem suggests that the speaker is sorrowing.

The concluding stanza pivots on the phrase "with a sigh." The speaker regrets that life's choices and decisions rule out alternatives that might be equally enriching and enjoyable. One can't do everything.

Bear in mind that both roads appear equally inviting. If the speaker had said that the leaves of one road HAD been trodden black, the argument that in that direction lies evil or criminality would be supportable because of the negative associations of the color black. But both roads are fair and grassy. The only stated difference is that the road he chose seemed less often used.

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Collection of SPM English Language Question Papers

2005
Terengganu Trial [Paper 1]

2007
Johor Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Terengganu Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Pahang Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2] [Answers], Melaka Trial 2007 [Paper 1] [Paper 2], TIMES [Paper 1] [Paper 2] SPB [Paper 1] [Paper 2]

2008

Terengganu Mid Year [Paper 1] [Paper 2],
Trial
MRSM Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], SBP Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Kelantan Trial [Paper 1 & 2], Terengganu Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Kedah Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Pahang Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Johor Trial [Paper 1 & 2], Perlis Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Sabah Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Sarawak Trial [Paper 1 & 2], Melaka Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2]

2009

Terengganu TOV [Paper 1] [Paper 2] Terengganu Mid Year [Paper 1] [Paper 2]
Melaka Trial , Johor Trial , Sabah Trial , Kedah Trial , Perlis Trial , Times , SBP , Pahang Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2]

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