Life Choices in Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken and Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

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Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” both portray weighing of choices in life. The former is about youth and experiencing life and the latter is about old age, or more probably, an old spirit wearied by life. In both poems the speaker is in a critical situation where he has to choose between two paths in life. In “The Road Not taken” the speaker chooses the unconventional approach to the decision making process, thus showing his uniqueness and challenging mentality while in “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” the speaker seeks a life without any pain and struggle but at the end, he has to comply with social obligation, which reflects his responsibility towards the society. In the poem, “The…show more content…
By choosing the harder path, the speaker declares his rebellion against the popular opinion as represented by the other road. He decides not to conform to society and takes up a less popular choice. When considering his choices the speaker shows the typical human reaction. He considers taking both paths at first. He says, “Oh I kept the first for another day”, but later confesses he “doubted if [he] should ever come back” (13-15). Thus the poem’s significance lies in the speakers making a decision by choosing a road and moving on with his life. The act of choosing the road represents his uniqueness and the fact that he is always moving forward, even without stopping. Like “The Road Not Taken”, in “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”, the speaker has to make a big decision in his life. He has to choose between isolation and social obligation. At first glance, this poem might denote stopping in the woods to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Different symbols in this poem though reveal that stop in the poem could be referring to death. In this phrase “Between the woods and frozen lake”, the wood becomes a symbol of life where frozen lake signifies death. When the speaker reaches the woods, he finds a world offering perfect, quiet and solitude, existing side by side with the realization that there is also another world, a world of people and social obligation. Both
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