As I build my thesis from a combination of my evaluation and the cause/effect claims, along with the comments from scholarly friends, I will explore the effects of the contradictions and ambiguity in Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken” for my final paper.
What was Frost intending for us to feel as we read how a certain conflicted traveler chooses one equally worn road over another and then contradicts himself by stating one road seems better suited, “because it was grassy and wanted wear.” This leaves the reader to wonder what could have enticed the traveler to choose one road over the other. Was it just a hunch or whim he has or is there some visible reason such as the intriguing way the sunlight filters through the underbrush that prompted his decision? We do not know, because Frost doesn’t tell us. He does tell us he kept the first road for another day, only to say the traveler doubts he will ever again find himself at that particular cross road.
And why is he telling this way off in the future. . .and with a sigh? Does this mean he is feeling regret for not having taken the first road or is it regret that because he is just one traveler he is unable to travel both roads simultaneously? We do not know the answer to this because again, Frost does not tell us, or does he? What he does tell us is that the road he took has made “all the difference.” The ambiguity intensifies here as we wonder what that difference might be. Each reader is left to speculate and fill in the blank to resolve the meaning of the poem. Which is the reason the poem has such wide appeal.