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Brett He How does Robert Frost represent important issues about life through seemingly simple observations?

In his ostensibly simple poem, The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost examines the emotional complexities that lie behind the seemingly simple notion of making a decision in life. He explores the existential concept of choice through a simple recount of a persona choosing a road to take; an extended metaphor for the important issue that choices one has in life. Despite seemingly simple structures and observations, the road not taken closely analyses this archetypal dilemma and comments on it in regards to lifes journey; a style distinct to many of Frosts poems. Through the use of an anonymous persona and retrospective writing, a sense of ambiguity as well as universality is established, which challenges the reader to reflect upon their own life and the decisions they have to make. In the first stanza, nature is established as the medium through which Frosts message is to be conveyed. Seasonal imagery is used in, two roads diverged in a yellow wood, expressing a gentle tone that creates a serene, tranquil atmosphere. Colour symbolism is used to portray autumn, a time of renewal and change. In the next line, a tone of regret is expressed through and sorry I could not travel both which indicates the personas fear of being unable to choose the right path in life. This is complemented by looked down as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth, which reveals that no-one, including the persona, knows what the future holds for them, and thus further accentuates the fear that the persona and exponentially the reader has of making the right choice. Through seemingly ordinary experiences, Frost effectively explores and examines complex themes and ideas about life. The notion of ambiguity regarding the personas choices is further explored in the second stanza. When comparing the roads, they are just as fair, accentuating the difficulty of the decision. An attempt to justify one over the other, perhaps the better claim grassy and wanted wear is defeated by the last lines of the stanza the passing there had worn them really about the same. The use of a dejected tone indicates the fear that the persona has for making the right decision. Thus the seemingly simple notion of a choice reveals the emotional complexities that lay behind the archetypal dilemma of making a difficult choice. In the final stanzas, Frosts repetition in, yet knowing how way leads onto way indicates that people are always faced with such dilemmas in their lives, with internal rhyme highlighting the constantly evolving nature of life and revealing the irreversibility of the decision that the persona makes. This is complemented by Frosts contemplative tone, I doubted if I should ever come back to further heightens the permanent nature of decisions and recognition that choices may be irreversible. In the last stanza, we see a sudden change from past tense to future tense in I shall be telling this with a sigh indicating that the persona is looking upon their life from the future, with the sigh creating a tone of regret that illustrates the personas fear of making the wrong decision. The first line of the poem is repeated in Two roads diverged in a wood and I, with the omission of the original description of yellow revealing that although time has passed, there is a recognition that the decision is now irrevocable. The use of repetition in ages and ages hence accentuates the personas old age, and thus

accentuates Frosts final message that our time in this world is limited, and that we must make decisions, even difficult and accept the path they lead us. Through a seemingly simple observation of an ordinary experience that we all must make in terms of the direction of our life, Frost explores the underlying emotional complexities behind making difficult decisions in life.