theme of the poem the road not taken

Theme of the poem ‘The Road Not Taken’: IELTS essay

Updated on 20 June, 2022
Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

The International English Language Testing System or IELTS is an English language proficiency test taken for study, migration, or work. Theme of the poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ IELTS essay is one of the common topics in the IELTS writing section. Writing a theme of a poem can elucidate the creativity you have and the extent your thoughts can travel. Since poems are an inspiration from real life. Therefore it is necessary to arrange your thoughts and relate them to the lines of the poem’s theme.

The theme of the poem ‘The Road Not Taken’: Sample 1

The Road Not Taken, a poem by Robert Frost has been structured in a contemplative and introspective tone. Through this creative piece, the poet has showcased the universal truth in an appreciable way which has moulded it into a more engaging piece.

The central theme around which the poem swirls is a fact demonstrating that another name for life is preferences. As humans, the potential and privilege to choose from two options is a boon, but some choices may not be as good as others and vice-versa. Every choice that we make defines our future. Therefore, solicitous and correct picks must be the utmost priority of every individual. 

The profound intellect and maturity of the poet are symbolized by the choice of metaphors in the poem. “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood”; here, roads are a metaphor harnessed to depict life. Each stanza of the poem unfolds a new thought, similar to how life unfurls itself by giving us options to choose. Each choice once made leads to yet another diverged road showcasing that decision-making is an unending life event, depicted by the line “way leads on to way.”

This poem discusses some facts about life that most people deny accepting. This may be out of fear of making hard choices:

∙  Existence is an expedition with diverse pathways to choose from.

∙  Every other path will lead to a new choice 

∙  The tough choices may not consummate into an expected result.

A sense of uncertainty emanates with every choice made. In the end, the poet indicates no matter how contemplative one is, one will have to live with the choices made. Hence, it is best to embrace the impacts and move on. 

Tentative band score: 6, 

Total word count: 286

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The theme of the poem ‘The Road Not Taken’: Sample 2

Robert Frost wrote the poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ in August 1915, which discusses how individuals come to a point where they have to make decisions that can be the harbinger of significant life changes. The most relatable theme of the poem, ‘The Road Not Taken’ is its realistic thought that is omnipresent in human trajectory- Decision making and its outcome!

Frost indicates that the two roads at the point of divergence lead to a destination and may unfold a diversity of emotions. It can be sorrow or delight, but decision-making remains imperative. 

Further, the poem reflects that Frost chose the less traveled path as the line 'Because it was grassy' indicates, showing uncut grass and hence, fewer travelers to walk on. Also, the lines 'then took the other, as just as fair', reveal that the less traveled road claims have better results. However, the word 'perhaps' shows no clarity of how the decision is unveiled.

The lines 'Oh, I marked the first for another day!' reiterates that Frost has decided to travel the first path another day. The theme revolves around the fact that human life is eventful owing to the incessant decisions one needs to make. Just as the poet steps on the less traveled road, he mentions how he again had to choose to take the next step or go back and was filled with curiosity.  

In the concluding paragraph, the poet has not clarified whether the untrodden path was a discovery or a setback. But it certainly exhibits that the poet has no regret in walking the uncommon path. 

Tentative band score: 6 

Total word count: 265

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the theme of the poem? Is it describing the paragraphs and their meaning?

The theme of the poem shows the central idea on which the entire poetry is written. A theme of a poem is the very foundational thought that is recapitulated everywhere in the poem through some lines.

Q. How do we decide what parts to write about in describing the theme?

Once you know the theme of the poem, you can write the lines that you think talk about it. The lines you pick from the poem need to be justified and aligned with the theme of the poem.

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