Thinking about the Poem
1. Where does the traveller find himself? What problem does he face?
The traveller suddenly finds himself in the yellow woods at a point where the road forks into two.
The problem that he faces is that he cannot decide which road to take to continue his journey since it is not possible for him to travel both roads at the same time.
2. Discuss what these phrases mean to you.
(i) a yellow wood
(ii) it was grassy and wanted wear
(iii) the passing there
(iv) leaves no step had trodden black
(v) how way leads on to way
- A yellow wood- Yellow wood symbolises the autumn season. Autumn corresponds with old age. The poet could be symbolically talking about the later stages of life.
- It was grassy and wanted wear- It means the grassy path was not treaded on by many travellers and seemed to invite people to tread on it. This phrase represents the allure of the unconventional paths we take in life.
- Passing there- The use of the path by passersby.
- Leaves no step had trodden black- The leaves had not changed their colour and turned black because of less people stepping on them. It could represent a path one may have never/seldom taken in life for the fear of uncertainty.
- How way leads on to way- This phrase means how certain decisions one makes in life could pave the way for many other decisions.
3. Is there any difference between the two roads as the poet describes them
(i) in stanzas two and three?
(ii) in the last two lines of the poem?
1 ) In stanza two the poet explains that the only difference between the two roads was that the road he took had the right to be chosen (the better claim) because it was covered with grass and looked as if it had not been used too much.
- Besides this difference, both roads had been equally worn down by passersby travelling on them. In stanza three the poet says that both the roads were equally covered with leaves and that no person had stepped on.
2 ) In the last two lines of the poem the poet says that there is a difference between the two roads because he took the road that was less travelled by other people and that made all the difference to his journey.
4. What do you think the last two lines of the poem mean? (Looking back, does
the poet regret his choice or accept it?)
The last two lines of the poem mean that years later when the poet will look back on his life, he will tell people that he made a decision a long time ago and took the road that was less travelled and that has made all the difference in his life.
The poet may regret his choice because he says that he will “be telling this with a sigh” meaning that he was not happy with his choice. Alternatively, it could also be a sigh of relief. The poet is relieved that he picked the right road to tread on and that may have led to his destiny.
II. 1. Have you ever had to make a difficult choice (or do you think you will have
difficult choices to make)? How will you make the choice (for what reasons)?
The Solution below merely gives an outline of how students can answer this question based on their perspectives and experiences. Students are recommended to create meaningful responses from the points below.
Here are some hints that students can use:I have not had to make a difficult decision/choice up till now.
Choices that I will have to make in the future:
- The stream of education that I should choose once I finish my 10th grade-Arts, Science or Commerce.
- Which college I should choose.
- Should I pursue my dream sport?
- Should I forfeit it for a career like medicine or engineering etc?
The following must be kept in mind while making a choice:
- Think carefully before making a choice.
- Will it be good for me now as well as at a future date?
- Am I making a choice that I will regret in the future?
- Do I like doing things like the rest or do I like doing things differently? Will I choose an unexplored path?
- Will I be able to stick to the choice I have made and try to make the best of it?
2. After you have made a choice do you always think about what might have
been, or do you accept the reality?
Students are recommended to frame their own responses for this question. Here is an example:
It is not easy to make choices in life either because both alternatives look good or because we don’t know which is a better choice. However, since we have to choose an alternative, we must take this decision wisely.
Further, once we have decided to walk a certain path, we must take the ownership of that decision and accept the consequences instead of looking back with regret.