Frost wrote "Road Not Taken" about a friend of his.
The following is copy and paste from
http://www.english.uiuc.edu/maps/poets/ ... t/road.htm
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I --
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Is it not the high tone of poignant annunciation that really makes all the difference? An earlier version of the poem had no dash after "I"; presumably Frost added it to make the whole thing more expressive and heartfelt. And it was this heartfelt quality which touched Meiklejohn and the students.
Yet Frost had written Untermeyer two years previously that "I'll bet not half a dozen people can tell you who was hit and where he was hit in my Road Not Taken," and he characterized himself in that poem particularly as "fooling my way along." He also said that it was really about his friend Edward Thomas, who when they walked together always castigated himself for not having taken another path than the one they took. When Frost sent "The Road Not Taken" to Thomas he was disappointed that Thomas failed to understand it as a poem about himself, but Thomas in return insisted to Frost that "I doubt if you can get anybody to see the fun of the thing without showing them and advising them which kind of laugh they are to turn on." And though this sort of advice went exactly contrary to Frost's notion of how poetry should work, he did on occasion warn his audiences and other readers that it was a tricky poem. Yet it became a popular poem for very different reasons than what Thomas referred to as "the fun of the thing." It was taken to be an inspiring poem rather, a courageous credo stated by the farmer-poet of New Hampshire. In fact, it is an especially notable instance in Frost's work of a poem which sounds noble and is really mischievous. One of his notebooks contains the following four-line thought:
Nothing ever so sincere
That unless it's out of sheer
Mischief and a little queer
It wont prove a bore to hear.
The mischievous aspect of "The Road Not Taken" is what makes it something un-boring, for there is little in its language or form which signals an interesting poem. But that mischief also makes it something other than a "sincere" poem, in the way so many readers have taken Frost to be sincere. Its fun is outside the formulae it seems almost but not quite to formulate.
From Frost: A Literary Life Reconsidered. Copyright © 1984 by William Pritchard.
The following is an essay found at
http://www.killer-essays.com/Poetry_&_P ... s179.shtml
The Road Not Taken in the Choices of Life
The Road Not Taken in the Choices of Life
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
Took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. (Frost 751)
The narrator of this last stanza of The Road Not Taken is Edward Thomas, eluding that the choice he has just made may be the wrong, or the right; but only time will tell. On the surface, Robert Frost’s poem is a story about a walk on a wooded road, but it had deeper meaning to him and how he feels about the road. Also, the poem has a universal meaning about life and the choices it presents to you. Further, the poem is magnificently written in the typical rhyming Frost style. Lastly, a sigh might just be a sigh to you, but in this piece it means much more to Frost. Frost’s 1916 poem The Road Not Taken is an example of how Frost writes poetry enthralling the reader with a grand opening and an unexpected ending that must be thoroughly analyzed.
Frost wrote The Road Not Taken while living in Gloucestershire, England in 1914 though he was an American citizen. His friend Edward Thomas and he would often go on walks so Thomas could show him special plants or sights. When Thomas would choose a path, it was certain that every time he would regret the choice he had made sighing that they should have taken a ‘better’ direction (Robert Frost’s Lesser Known Poems). When Frost wrote this he supposedly pretended to carry himself as Thomas just long enough to write the poem. Furthermore, Frost first wrote the poem as almost a joke for Thomas. But, it later held more value for him, as an example of life choices.
The Road Not Taken is literally story about a walk on a road one fall morning. In the opening line it tells of how the road broke into a ‘y.’ This simple ‘y’ in the road eludes also to Frost’s first line of the poem and his choice of yellow (‘y’) to describe the fall trees. Frost talks about the two roads and how they are the same, comparing them. No one else is on the road with the narrator. He is alone, contemplating the decision by himself. There is a decision that is going to be made by the narrator as to which road equally worn to take with no help from anyone. He knows that the road he takes will lead him forever, foreshadowing that the choice he does makes could be a regret or satisfaction. Frost then said in the present tense last stanza that the narrator’s choice was the road less traveled.
The road in the poem is not just a road; it is a symbol of choices in our lives that we must make. Frost implies that the narrator is sorry that he could not take both roads, see two different outcomes before the decision is made. The outcomes can not be seen though, looking as far as he could the road would bend and disappear into the undergrowth. He says to himself three times in the poem that both roads are equal, but in the final outcome he chooses the one less traveled, wanting wear (Frost 750). Only one road may be taken, one decision made, and one final destiny for a lifetime. The narrator could live to regret that he did or did not take another path. Also, his decision may be satisfying to him, not looking back at what may have been but instead of what is here, what he is living for right now.
The Road Not Taken is masterfully written not just with forceful opening words and an ironic final stanza but also with rhyme scheme. Frost wrote it in abaab meaning that the last word in the first, third, and fourth lines rhyme. Also, the last word of the second and fifth lines of the poem rhyme. The rhyme scheme is rhymed tetrameter, meaning that there are four beats in a line (Robert Frost’s Lesser Known Poems). Frost always used some rhyme scheme in his poems often joking that writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down (O’Donnell). Using rhymes almost give the poem a sing song effect that makes it flow together easier, coming together as a whole.
In the last stanza Frost says, I shall be telling this with a sigh, implying that Thomas chose the path, hoping that the decision was the correct one. Knowing that Thomas and Frost were friends though, this was originally to Frost a jest, since Thomas would inevitably sigh and wish they took another route. However, the sigh can also be taken in another light. The sigh could be just on the surface, for those who just ‘looked’ at the poem. Looking at it from that perspective the sigh could just be of the narrator giving up, choosing the road in need of wear. Also the sigh, to more in-depth readers, could be TOWARDS the reader implying just as those who might think the narrator would live to be sorry for the choice he had taken on the road, in life. He will not regret the choice he has made though, because he knows that he will never again come across the break in the road. In choosing this road, he has sealed his fate for ages and ages in the future as he reminisces upon this decision.
In conclusion, The Road Not Taken is just another example of Robert Frost’s amazing ability as a writer to captivate his audience from the very beginning to the very end of his poems. Frost starts with a simple ‘y’ in the road accented with the yellow woods surrounding it and the narrator. Later, we find out that Frost actually wrote this ‘as Edward Thomas’ as a jest for he would often sigh saying he wished that he chose a different route when they went on walks together. This is not just an ordinary sigh to Frost though; there is more underneath of it, much more meaning than just a breath. Also, he concludes with a masterful ending about the choice that the narrator has decided upon. The poem is a stellar example of how life choices are made alone with only nature by your side as help. Furthermore Frost ties the whole masterpiece together with tetrameter rhyme and an abaab pattern in each stanza. As William G. O’Donnell said of Robert Frost though, Although one person’s interpretation may be superior to another’s, sooner or later you have no choice but to venture out on your own and decide what, if anything, a particular poem is all about. So please, go and read The Road Not Taken and discovery the meaning of the poem for yourself, as or risk not discovering it at all.