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    • POEM: The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost (3/1/2006 3:28:00 PM)

      This is probably the most misread American poem. My students usually miss it. They commonly read it to mean: Take the road less traveled and you'll thank yourself one day. But of course, Frost describes the roads as being the same. In other words, THERE IS NO ROAD LESS TRAVELED BY in this poem, at least not as far as the narrator can tell. Otherwise, he would have titled the poem 'The Road Less Traveled.' It's called 'The Road Not Taken' because it explores the inevitable feeling of regret we will all encounter when we wonder about the chances we didn't take. And one can't prevent that feeling, no matter what 'road' one takes.

    • POEM: Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes (3/1/2006 3:22:00 PM)

      This poem is an excellent example of how an economical number of words can be used to great effect. Since the poem is a cautionary tale - essentially warning that desire delayed is desire denied - it was wise for Hughes to get to the 'punchline' quickly. The word 'explode' is perfect, hinting at the boiling point a soul can reach when not satisfied.