Fork in a Road " When you arrive at a fork in the road, take it.' - Yogi Berra. Everyday we are met with circumstances and with the circumstances come the decisions we make in order to fulfill our lives and make them meaningful. However, once we make a decision, after we pass that 'fork in the road', we need to move on, accepting what we have done, because what has happened has happened and there is nothing we can do to change the past. Such is a case in Robert Frost's poem 'The Road Not Taken'; , and Alistair MacLeod's short story 'The Lost Salt Gift of Blood'; .
While the persona in Frost's poem has knowingly come to a dilemma, in contrast, the narrator in MacLeod's story makes a decision without glancing to the future. Everyone is a traveler, choosing the roads to follow on the map of their continuous journey, life. Robert Frost puts his persona in front of a road diverging, and he must make a decision on which to take. The two roads are almost identical, but one is less traveled by. He looks ahead, but can't see far, due to 'where it bent in the undergrowth'; . Alistair MacLeod does it differently; the narrator has come to a fork in the road, but without hesitation he takes the more traveled by.
This is the first contrast between the two literatures. 'And both that morning equally lay in leaves no step had trodden black.' the leaves had covered the ground and since the time they had fallen no one had yet to pass by on this road. Perhaps Frost does this because each time a person comes to the point where they have to make a choice, it is new to them, somewhere they have never been and they tend to feel as though no one else had ever been there either. The persona took the road less traveled by. The road he chooses makes him the man he is.
MacLeod makes his narrator take the other road; he brings the glass of water to John's mother without thinking of what lies ahead. To Jenny this had great meaning it represents engagement. Like most young males he takes the easy way and gets what he wants, or does he. He gets a son, loses his relationship with Jenny, and carries the guilt of not taking the right road before. The simple difference is that the narrator in 'The Road Not Taken'; looks ahead and chooses to take the road less traveled by, while the persona in 'The Lost Salt Gift of Blood'; doesn't look ahead and takes the road more traveled by. By taking the road less traveled by, he chooses the road 'that has made all the difference'; , not necessarily the right choice, but a choice he made knowingly.
Before he leaves he thinks 'Oh, I kept the first for another day!' ; , he realizes the choices and thinks of coming back and taking the other road. 'I doubted if I should ever come back'; this is his turning point, he realizes that he probably will never come back, but he thinks of this before making his choice. This is completely opposite to the actions of the narrator. The narrator doesn't look ahead of the choice he makes, which he probably doesn't think or reason much about. He takes the opposite road, but he does come back. He comes back to see Jenny, but learns that she had died along the side of her husband, few years ago.
He also learns that he has a son John, who is living with his grandparents. He feels guilty and thinks of taking him home, but John's home is in Newfoundland with his grandparents. He comes back to the fork; this time he thinks, and looks ahead before making the choice less traveled by. He puts John's happiness in front of his and makes the right decision. The final comparison is that the persona thinks ahead, and takes the road less traveled by.
He is not sure if it is the right choice; it has made all the difference. He also doubts if he will ever return. The narrator doesn't think and takes the road more traveled by, which turns out to be the wrong choice. He does come back, only this time he takes the other road, the right choice.
In conclusion, the road that will be chosen leads to the unknown, as does any choice in life.