The Road Not Taken

Good Essays
What was the last decision you made? Do you wonder what might have happened if you chose differently? This is the same feeling Robert Frost wrote his famous poem The Road Not Taken about. The poem is about reflecting upon and fretting over a past decision, a decision you may feel you chose poorly or picked the wrong option. This feeling happens so commonly, everyone has experienced it at some point, and on different levels of intensity. It can happen when you think maybe the chocolate ice cream would’ve been better than your choice of vanilla, or it can happen on a much larger scale, perhaps realizing you hate your career, or you moved to the wrong city. No matter when you are feeling this, it can be overwhelming, make you feel claustrophobic, …show more content…
No matter how mundane a choice you made may seem, it can have a major effect on the trajectory of your life. Say the traveler in the poem chose the other road, he could’ve found a gold mine, or he could’ve been eaten by a bear. Any number of outcomes is possible, you only know which will happen if you choose that path. Take the example of Schrödinger’s cat; if you put a cat in a box with a vial of poison, two things can happen; the cat breaks the vial and dies, or the cat doesn’t break the vial and is fine. The only way to know which outcome really happened is to open the box. Until you’ve opened the box, all outcomes are possible and exist all at once. When we make a decision, the same thing happens, but you only ever find out the one ending, when any other thing could’ve happened if you’d chosen differently. Additionally, most consequences from our choices are unavoidable and unpredictable, yet we still regret as if they are our fault. The last lines of them poem, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I-I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” (19-20) represent how a choice can drastically change your life, without warning before the choice has actually been …show more content…
The traveler stands at the fork in the road for a good, long time, long enough for him to remember hesitating while looking back, “And be one traveler, long I stood” (3). He stands, staring at each path, before deciding which one to take. Making a choice with little information is a guessing game for the most part, basically leaving a 50/50 chance the choice he made was the better option. This is an unfair decision, because the only information he has on the two paths is the aesthetics of each. Assuming there even is a better path to take, better still doesn’t mean good. The difference between paths could be as simple as one will kill this traveler mid-journey, and the other will be immensely rewarding, or it could be as nuanced as one having more birds and the other having more squirrels. There is no real way to decide, and this situation always leads to indecision. Adding indecision to the problem is only going to make everything worse, because now the traveler has to decide while under more pressure. In the end, the traveler picked a path. We don’t know if it was a good path or the right path, but he

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