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The Road Not Taken-Robert Frost

Write an essay of no less than 1100 words in which you fully analyze the poem listed above. Your essay must be typed, double-spaced, and documented according to MLA format. You must use no fewer than 3 professional outside sources, not including your primary source. This means that you will include at least four sources on the Works Cited page. Include a typed copy of the poem with your final draft. Also, with your final draft, you must include a copy of each page of text where your citations are found with the lines you have used highlighted on the copied pages.
Include the title/home page for each of these sources. Type your word count at the end of your last sentence.

Use present tense to discuss literary content…for this Essay. This is important.

Requirements for cited sources:
-Use only professional sources; be especially careful with those online

-No personal websites

-No “.com” websites or websites carrying advertisements.

-No bulletin boards or discussion groups

-No online sourses from other educational institutions

-No wikis (e.g. Wikipedia)

-No anonymous sources

-No “ask” websites (e.g.,, Yahoo! Answers, etc.)

-Remember than any information you borrow must be cited both on the Works Cited page and within the sentence(s) which are borrowed with parenthetical citations, according to MLA format.

-Consult your handbook for instructions on Works Cited entries and in-text/parenthetical citations. Do not guess at how to do this correctly.

-Ask me if you are not absolutely sure that you are using a professional source.

-Most of the essay (70%-80% ) should be your own original analysis and insights. Your outside sources (20%-30%) should be used throughout the essay (especially paragraph 3) to support your thoughts.

Required paragraph format and organization:

(Paragraphs may be divided if they get too lengthy)


-Be sure to present the aspects of how this poem will be researched and analyzed.
-Close this paragraph with a thesis statement in which you state the component of the paper to include the assertion of a theme the poem expresses. (What is the point of the poem?)
Remember that the introduction should be relatively brief as compared to your body paragraphs.

Thesis: This will be different than most essays that you have done. As you continue reading the instructions, you will notice that there are 5 body paragraphs required. Therefore, instead of the traditional 3 points within you thesis statement to which you are accustomed for most papers, this thesis statement will have 5 points that will align with your 5 body paragraphs.

Body Paragraph 1 (approximately 5 sentences):
-Discuss aspects of the poet’s life, the historical period/social context in which the poem was written, and/or the social/historical context of the events in the poem itself that relate to the poem and/or its themes.

Body Paragraph 1 (approximately 5 sentences):
-Discuss aspects of the poet’s life, the historical period/social context in which the poem was written, and/or the social/historical context of the events in the poem itself that relate to the poem and/or its themes.

Ex. If the poem was written during the Civil War, how does the war relate
to the poem?

Ex. If the poet was an alcoholic, how might that fact relate to the poem?

Ex. If the poem deals with the death of Abraham Lincoln, how does his
life/death affect the poem and its theme?

-Discuss only those aspects of the poet’s life and/or the poem’s historical context
that are directly related to the poem and your thesis. Also, be sure to explain
how each piece of biographical and historical information relates to elements in
the poem. This paragraph is where the bulk of your borrowed information will
be used.

Body Paragraph 2 (approximately 6 sentences)
-Discuss the poem’s physical structure (1. how it is organized (division of
stanzas) 2. the meter/rhythm/line length, and 3. the rhyme scheme). Discuss how
each of these three parts of the structure of the poem contributes to its overall

Ex. If it written in open form, indicate that and explain possible reasons why the
poet chose this form. What effect does it have on meaning and theme?

If the poem is a Sonnet, how does the poet use this format to his/her

If the poem has a strong and steady rhythm and rhyme, it is said to be lyrical
(song-like). Why do you think this is appropriate for such a poem?

If any part of the poem’s structural pattern changes at any point in the poem,
speculate upon possible reasons for this and the effect of the change on the

Body Paragraph 3 (approximately 6 sentences)

-Introduce the poem and explain its literal meaning.
-What does the poem say, literally? What is the setting? Who are the
characters? What is happening? Who is thespeaker? What is the plot?
etc. You are not analyzing underlying meaning yet. You are telling the
reader what the words mean.

-This paragraph should contain few or no research citations or quoted lines
from the poem since you are putting them in your own words.

Body Paragraph 4 (approximately 6-9 sentences)

-Introduce, show, and explainno fewer than five separate uses of poetic/literary devices in the poem. Be sure to include a quote containing each
device, and explain specifically how each device is used to enhance the poem’s
theme, subject, purpose, effect, etc. Do not define literary devices. Assume that
your reader knows what they are. Also, do not simply suggest that a device is
used to make the poem “better” or “easier to read,” unless you also explain
exactly how, in your opinion, the device does this.

Body Paragraph 5 (approximately 6-9 sentences)

-Elaborate on the theme(s) and/or purposes mentioned in your thesis statement.
What passages/elements in the poem point to this theme, and how do they reveal
it? What parts of the poem lead you to understand this theme? Quote lines,
words and phrases from the poem as examples.

Paragraph 6 (5-7 sentences) Evaluation and Conclusion

-Provide an evaluation of the poem. Does it accomplish its purpose?
What makes it especially effective, touching, poignant, powerful, relevant, etc.?
You may cite other critics’ statement and agree or disagree with them.

Beyond possibly dividing lengthy paragraphs, do not, under any circumstances, divert from the above organization of this essay.


Every paragraph need not contain researched information. The paragraph dealing with biography is the only one in which research will be required. Most of the rest of the essay will be your own interpretation or analysis.

*Be sure to search for information in several databases, the Internet (on a limited basis), and in “the stacks” in libraries.

Do not expect to find copious amounts of outside analysis (research) on individual poems. You will be doing this on your own. Look for biography, history, and poetic style information as it relates to your poet and poem.

Write this essay in third person point of view. First person (I, me, us, our, we, etc.) is considered informal. Also be sure that literary text is written in present tense.

Last Updated on February 10, 2019

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