Robert Frost is the kind of poet that makes it difficult for his readers to decide a certain place for him or judge his poetry according to the time period it was written in. ‘Even though Robert Frost’s career revolves around the era of modern poetry because of which it is difficult to call him anything but a modern poet; it is still rather difficult to call him that’ (James M. Cox). Robert Frost who was born in 1874 and died in 1963 presented the society with his poetry in the times that everything seemed to be changing. His poems and verses can be identified as a tendency of the nineteenth century or may look parallel to the customs of the twentieth century as well. Many critics have acclaimed that Robert Frost developed a sense of directness and modern idioms from his public domains. The poetic style that Robert Frost follows is rather the use of erratic rhyming. He avoids forming traditional verses in his work and it is never experimental.
Frost aimed at accomplishing grace and objectivity in his work. For this, he used the tools of the trade for poetry in the nineteenth century and made them new according to his desires. Critics claim that Frost was able to enrich his style of writing poetry by setting limits to the natural rhythm that the speech contains. Yvor Winters says that Frost tried to make his style of poetry stand as close as possible to the style of conversations (Yvor Winters). Frost tried to give his poetry a touch of the soft speaking style of a New Englander and avoided the artificial dictation.
Robert Lee Frost was born on 26th March 1874. His father, William Frost, was a journalist and a democrat while his mother, Isabelle Moody, was a housewife. When Frost’s father died in 1885 his mother had to become a school teacher to earn her family living. Frost was only eleven years of age at the time of his father’s death. Even though his birth took place in San Francisco, California, his family lived in Lawrence, Massachusetts. At that time his family was living with his mother’s father in law, William Prescott Frost who also turned to be a home tutor for Frost.
At the age of 18, in 1892, Frost had completed his high school and applied for Dartmouth College in which he got accepted. He attended the college only for a few months though. Around that time Frost was able to get his poem published in the New York Independent, My Butterfly. Apart from that Frost also had five of his other poems printed privately. Ten years after getting admitted to Dartmouth College, Frost had several numbers of jobs one of which was working in a textile mill. Frost also took up the job of a teacher in his mother’s school and taught students Latin there in Methuen, Massachusetts. He continued his services as a teacher and at that time also continued on with his writing. He got his poems published in magazines as well.
At the age of 39, Frost publishes his collection of poems under the name of A Boy’s Will which was followed by another publication North Boston in 1914 and gained international acclaim. In 1938 Frost’s wife had died, whom he had married in 1895. He had six children but lost four of them because of which he started suffering from depression and self-doubt. After his wife’s death, Frost hired Kay Morrison, whom he found very attractive, as his secretary and advisor. He also wrote one of his best love poems for her, A Witness Tree. On 29 January 1963 Frost passed away from this world.
The Road Not Taken
In the poem, The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost tries to explain the feelings that one feels in their life when they come upon a situation in which they stand in front of a two-way road. But in this poem he is not talking about the decision making of a person, instead, he talks through the man in his poem that comes across such road and reflects his thoughts on his decision. He is talking about how, when there are two roads ahead of him and he is unaware of the things that any of the roads contain. As he chooses one of it in his life, thinking he may travel the other one later on in his life. He has made both the roads appear the same to him because in this situation he is unaware of what any of the paths may bring.
He calls this choice between the two roads ‘a fork in the road’. He says that because, even though the man in the poem thought about traveling the other road some other time, he is also aware that he will not be able to go back to that time again. He knows that there is something that he will never know. In the poem when the man in the poem is shown visualizing his future, he is not enthusiastic about the choice he made, instead, he sees himself telling his story with a sigh, which shows his longing and regret of never being able to find out what the other road comprised of.
Dana Gioia, X. J. Kennedy. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Robert Frost: Biography. Web.
Having separated everything with smaller headings, this source made it easy for one to find out quickly what they are looking for and saved the consumption of time.
Frank and Melissa. Robert Frost: A Bibliography, 1913-1974. Felix G. Woodward Library. Web.
This source was able to provide the article which was easy to summarize.
Spark Notes. Frost’s Early Poems. The Road Not Taken. Web.
This source proved to be very helpful in developing a better understanding of the poem. It was able to clear the misunderstanding that students usually develop when reading this poem, thinking it is about choosing the road less traveled while it is actually about the feelings one has about the other road which was not taken.