The Road Not Taken: Audio and Helpful Links

Wikipedia used to have a lot more information on “The Road Not Taken” but evidently there was quite a bit of vandalism and they deleted it all.  Someone came in and replaced the whole page with the phrase “Reed Ryan has no balls.” Another person kept adding the clause ‘tells how much I love you’ after the words ‘the poem’  Someone else creatively added:

During a trip to the Rocky Mountains, his hiking guide, Mr. Handstein, misread his compass and walked 200 miles off course. Frost was saved by Jordyn Fisher, a local backpacking expert who happened to pass by him while riding her domesticated wombat. Frost was forever grateful, and thus the poem was dedicated to her as a sign of gratitude.

Frost’s own explanation of the poem was that it was “tricky” and misleading.  It was really written to tease his friend and fellow poet, Edward Thomas, who would often be indecisive and regretful about the paths he chose to explore when they went on nature explorations.

Edward Thomas didn’t “get it” to Frost’s disappointment.  Apparently, not many other people did either since the poem became very popular as a wisdom piece when it wasn’t meant that way at all.

There are many readings online to hear the poem and many resources online to get a better understanding of it:

  • On The Road Not Taken contains commentary from several people.

  • Harper Audio has several readings including “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost himself.

  • Ted Nellen’s CyberEnglish site has several readings including (ahem!) a link to our very own reading by “Mr. T,” and a quiz on the poem.

Personally, “The Road Not Taken” was never a favorite of mine.  I couldn’t see anything profound at all in it.  Profound things should at least make sense and I could never see how the person might know taking one road had “made all the difference” when he never went down the other one. I always thought the poem would have made more sense if it ended with “and it probably didn’t make a soupçon of difference.” Then everyone could have pondered the significance of a soupçon.

But I do love Jim Lueck’s reading as Mr. T.  It’s the best.

Now for some reely important links if you need some homework help on Robert Frost:

  • An online exhibit of all things Frost presented by Special Collections at Middlebury College;

  • A Frost Exhibit from the University of Virginia;

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