“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I– / I took the one less traveled by.”
How many times have we read this line, heard this line, or seen it referenced as a rallying cry of the adventurous, of the trailblazers, of the hiking vloggers? If you’re like me, quite a few. Robert Frost’s 1916 poem, “The Road Not Taken,” permeates our cultural love of uniquity and exploration.
But earlier this month, I read an article, the basic premise of which was that we’ve been misinterpreting or misreading Frost’s (arguably) most famous poem. If you read the full text of “The Road Not Taken,” it’s not actually a poem about forging your own path and being gung-ho about an adventurous and exciting new line of bushwhacking work. In reality, the speaker of the poem looks back on his decision to take the road “less traveled by”… and regrets it.
In some sense, the idea that taking the road less traveled led the speaker to wonder whether he’d actually made the right decision is more relatable than the wanderlusty vibes imbued to the last stanza by decades of innocent ignorance of the preceding ones. I often feel–especially when we’re speaking of politics–that I make up my mind and feel like I have a handle on what is right and what’s wrong, until someone introduces another perspective on the issue, and I’m left wondering if my confidently-forged path to my own opinions was based on an assumption that left out a whole chunk of the picture.
This issue, we’ll walk you through some divergent (and somewhat complicated) paths; how can a society best walk back a tacit acceptance of sexual misconduct? Is it even possible to have a district that isn’t gerrymandered for something? Do tariffs work? Is there really a best way to deal with social inequality?
Please, let us know how you feel about the paths we’ve traveled this issue! You can email us at email@example.com, follow us on Twitter @byupolitics, like us on Facebook @BYUPR, and view our articles on the web (check out the web-exclusive articles we’ve got there too) at politicalreview.byu.edu.
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