Friday, May 31, 2013

Which Road To Claim?

After several hours of looking back on topics I have posted, as well as classmates posts for ideas to use as a thesis for my English 251 class, I have made a decision.   

Using different types of claims for my critical analysis of Robert Frost’s poem, "The Road Not Taken," I have composed five thesis statements.  
Robert Frost
 I would appreciate your comments and  feedback you may have to strengthen and improve my thesis.

I have always loved Robert Frost’s poetry because of its beautiful imagery and deep meanings.  Frost had the ability to observe little noted details of nature and describe them in an appealing way. 

Frost mixed philosophy into his poetry that causes the reader deep reflection with his forthright and uncomplicated style.
The Road Not Taken

Thesis claims:

1.    (Policy claim)
When reading Robert Frost's poem, "The Road Not Taken," emphasis should be placed on the process of making reflective choices rather than interpreting a challenge to take life’s most difficult path.

2.    (Definition claim)
Contrary to popular belief, Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” is not about taking the less traveled road, but rather how we make life choices.

3.    (Comparison claim)
Though two similar roads are presented in Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken,” the outcome of the one ultimately chosen is the road that made all the difference.

4.    (Evaluation claim)
While the first three stanzas in Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken” clearly refers to two equally presented roads, the last two lines of the final stanza contradict by alluding to one the roads as less traveled by.

5.    (Cause/Effect claim)
It is because of the ambiguity in Robert Frost’s  poem “The Road Not Taken” that brings about the poems wide spread appeal.

Thank you!


  1. Very nice thesis claims. Your evaluation claim strikes a cord with me. In my analysis of this poem I am constantly considering these lines, “the passing there / Had worn them really about the same....that morning lay / In leaves no step had trodden black.” Neither of the roads is less traveled by, they were "two equally presented roads." But as you say, the final stanza seems contradictory.

    Then there is that "sigh" in the final stanza. Why would he sigh when telling the story sometime in the future? Has he been going through life wondering "what if?" What if I took the other road?

    Also interesting, why is it titled "The Road Not Taken" why not "The Road Less Traveled By?" Is he remorseful about the road not taken or just reminiscent about making those major choices in life? Lots of good stuff to think about!

    It will be great! I like your ideas.

    1. I have also wondered what the "sigh" means. I like your thoughts about going through life wondering "what if." Perhaps we all have made a major choice in life and afterwards wondered how our life would have been different had we gone with the other choice. I generally don't like to spend time on "what ifs" because it seems so futile. Thank you for your comments.

  2. #2, I think is the most controversial, and therefore the most interesting and juicy.

    1. That was exactly my thought when I was reading through them, though all of them are great theses.

  3. I like Kimara's response, and the poem does deserve the kind of closer reading that your potential thesis statements promise. At the same time, I am very concerned that analyzing this poem is itself a rather well-beaten road. Sadly, the very success of the poem has led to its now being rather cliche. I wonder if you can read the poem in such a way as to deal with that problem? What I don't want to see happen is that you interpret the poem the way one might have during the year it first appeared. That reading isn't really applicable anymore, since the poem is so well known and the general concept behind it is also so well known. It is very ironic that this poem is not at all the road less taken when dealing with this idea. How can you deal with that? Anyone else have some ideas?

    1. From the comments I have received from friends I have emailed along with my own closer reading of the poem, I am finding there are other contradictions that have sort of lurked in the back of my mind, but now I feel I must confront them. One comment said it best, "Frost is messing with our minds. It is the last line that really leaves us hanging....about the less-traveled road making all the difference. What difference? Frost doesn't say. Each reader is left to speculate.

  4. I like your Policy claim the most because it pushes you to find something beyond what most people read into this famous poem. I'm wondering if maybe you can push your thoughts even further, as Dr. Burton mentioned, and further argue why you don't think it is talking about taking the most difficult path.