Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken”
1. As an example of personification, why does the speaker claim that the road he took “wanted wear”?
2. What is the significance of lines 14-15, and how do they relate to what you believe is the theme of the poem?
3. Do you think the speaker’s “sigh” at the end suggests he is regretful of his decision, pleased with it, or ambivalent? Explain which position you take and how you would justify it using what you know about the rest of the poem to that point.
4. Thinking very generally about the choices people make in their lives, what conclusion would you say the speaker comes to about these choices we make?
William Stafford, “Traveling Through the Dark”
1. What is the literal meaning of the word “swerve” as it’s used in the first stanza? Near the end, the word is used again more figuratively. What is meant when the speaker says “my only swerving”?
2. How can the decision made by the speaker be seen as a metaphor for life and the different perspectives people can have about similar experiences?
3. Why does the speaker admit that he “hesitated”? How would your opinion about him change if there was no hesitation?
4. Why does the speaker feel that the “wilderness [is listening]” (essentially watching his every move)? What are the immediate effects this seems to have on him? On the other hand, what do you imagine might be the lasting (or even permanent) effects this may have on him?
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