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Unit 9: Expressing Unexpected Results

The Road Not Taken (Robert Frost) 

This poem consists of four stanzas, every five lines in length has a traditional rhyme scheme of ABAAB which helps keep the lines tight, whilst the use of enjambment (where one line runs into the next with no punctuation) keeps the sense flowing.

Rhyme Scheme: ababa

Symbolism: Two roads that represent two or more choices in our life

Anaphora (the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses): “and” repeated at the beginning of lines 2, 3 and 4


Wanted wear - “w” sound is repeating

First For - “f” sound is repeating

Though, that - “th” sound is repeating

The poet, while travelling on foot in the woods, comes across a junction where his path diverges into two roads, and he has to choose one of them. Now the poet is in dilemma which road he should take to continue his journey. He stands there for a long time looking at one of the roads. He finds this road as a beaten track (the route frequently travelled). Many people had travelled on it. It was carved into the undergrowth and nothing was visible beyond it.

The poet then looks at the other road which was grassy and seemed less travelled. Being adventurous by nature, he chooses the other road and leaves the first one for some other day, knowing fully well that he will not get a chance to go back to it. The poet feels that this choice will make all the difference to his future life. Later the poet wishes that he had taken the road he left. This is the irony of life. We cannot go through all the roads available to us, no matter whosoever we may wish to.

The poet now feels that after ages from now he would be looking back at this decision with a ‘sigh’. He would be telling that since he had taken the less travelled road, it made all the difference in his life.

Thus, the poet talks about one of the basic problems of human life the problem of making the right choice out of many. We come across many alternatives or choices in life. But we cannot take up all the choices at a time. Neither can we alter the decision once made by us. Therefore, it is important to make the right choice because our future is heavily dependent on it. If we fail to make the right decision, our life would be full of misery. But if we are fortunate enough to make the right choice, we would be successful.

    1. Following words describe either of the two roads the poet is talking about in the poem

The First Road

The Second Road

bent in the undergrowth, trodden black, worn

fair, better, grassy, worn, less travelled,

  1. Match the following words with their meanings.

Words Meanings

  1. Diverged = iii. branched away
  2. Wood = v. forest
  3. Undergrowth = vi. shrubs; a mass of bushes
  4. Claim = iv. demand
  5. Sigh = i. a deep and long breath
  6. Trodden = ii. walked on
  7. Bent = viii. curved
  8. Hence = vii. from now on
  1. Reading Comprehension
  1. Fill in the blanks using suitable words from the box. You may need to use one word twice

The poem is about a dilemma that the speaker has faced. He has choices between two roads. He compares both the roads. He takes a long time to take the final decision It is difficult for him. Finally, he chooses the less travelled road that has made a difference in his life.

  1. Find the words from the poem which rhyme with the words given below.
    • Wood = wood, stood, could
    • Fair: far, traveller, other, better, ever, 
    • Day = day, play clay
    • Sigh = sigh, by
  1. Read the poem again, and answer these questions.
  1. Who is the speaker in the poem?
    Ans: The speaker in the poem is a traveller.
  2. Where is the speaker standing in this poem?
    Ans: The speaker is standing at a point from where the way has diverged.
  3. Why does he stop there for a long time?
    Ans: He stops there for a long time because he can't decide the way to take.
  4. Why is he in a dilemma?
    Ans: He is in a dilemma because there are two ways and he has to choose the one since he cannot go both of them at once.
  5. Which road does he choose to travel?
    Ans: He chooses the one which is less travelled.
  6. Why does he leave the other one?
    Ans: He leaves the other one to travel on another day.
  7. Is the speaker optimistic? How can you say this?
    Ans: Yes, the speaker is optimistic. Though the road he took was tough, he says that has made all the difference.
  8. Do you think he has made the right decision?
    Ans: Yes, I think he has made the right decision.
  9. What do you think ‘the roads’ refer to?
    Ans: I think 'the roads' means the choices for the future that come simultaneously.
  10. What is the central idea of the poem?
    Ans: The central idea of the poem is that successful people dare to do something that has not been done by anyone.
  11. What message do you think the poet wants to convey to the readers?
    Ans: The main theme of the poem, "The Road Not Taken," is that human beings are confronted with and defined by the choices they make.

Reading II

A Scary Secret of Two Sisters (page 97)

  1. Find the words from the text above that describe the following noun.
    1. Lodge: small, not clean and well furnished, expensive, not airy rooms
    2. Street: narrow, gravelled, little, quiet
    3. Thug: tall, lanky, filthy, drunk
  1. Reading Comprehension
  1. Choose the best alternative, and fill in the blanks.
    1. The weather was pleasant while they were travelling.
    2. The sisters did not like the lodge because it was dirty.
    3. The thug said, “Give me your chain.”
    4. My sister said, “We won’t.
    5. The two sisters learnt to be obedient after that incident.
  1. Read the text, and answer the following questions.
  1. Where did the two sisters go to spend their vacation?
    Ans: The two sisters went to their grandparent's home town to spend their vacation.
  2. What did they decide to do in the absence of their grandparents?
    Ans: They decided to go out of the hotel in the absence of their grandparents.
  3. Why did they go out of the lodge?
    Ans: They went out of the lodge because they didn't like the hotel.
  4. What happened when they reached the street?
    Ans: When they reached the street a thug suddenly came and looted them.
  5. What important lesson did they learn from their mistake? Ans: From their mistake, they learnt that children must obey their parents and elders because their experience and knowledge are guidelines for their better life.
  6. Why did they decide not to share that scary incident with anyone?
    Ans: They decided not to share that scary incident with anyone because if they did, they would be punished.
  7. What lesson did you learn from this text?
    Ans: From this text, I learnt that we must obey our elders because they have a better understanding of life and situations.


Contrastive conjunctions:

  • though/even though/although
  • in spite of
  • despite
  • however
  • whereas, etc.
    • We use contrastive conjunctions to show the difference between two things when we compare them.
    • In the sentence, 'although' is equivalent in meaning 'though' and 'even though'. However 'although' is the most formal of these three, with 'even though' and 'though' is more commonly found in the less formal writing of magazines and newspapers.
    • Use them to signal that the statement in the main clause is unexpected or surprising.
    • When placed after the main clause, '(even) though' limits or reduces the strength of claims stated in the main clause.
    • 'Whereas' is used to contrast between extreme examples that represent almost polar opposites of each other.
    • 'However' is based on a positive-to-negative ordering of information.
    • 'Despite' and 'in spite of' are always followed by a noun, pronoun, and gerund.
    • 'Despite' and 'in spite of' express the same meaning.
    • 'Despite' is more formal than 'in spite of' and thus more likely to be used in academic writing.
    • Use 'despite' and 'in spite of' to introduce a fact that makes the other part of the sentence seem surprising.
  1. Choose the best alternative, and fill in the blanks.
  1. Although a huge amount of money has been poured into literacy programmes, literacy levels do not appear to be improving.
  2. Although she was very popular, she didn’t win the election.
  3. In spite of her busy time schedule, she completed her task on time.
  4. Despite the fact that they were very shy, they gave a wonderful presentation.
  5. Even though harmful effects are well known, people continue to pollute.
  6. In spite of the fact that I had no money, the shopkeeper gave me a pen.
  7. Although it was raining, I didn’t carry a raincoat.
  1. Change the following sentences as directed in brackets.


  1. It is a pleasant morning. (Interrogative)
    Ans: Is it a pleasant morning?
  2. Do you know anyone called Pankaj? (Statement)
    Ans: You know someone called Pankaj.
  1. Can she speak Japanese? (Statement)
    Ans: She can speak Japanese.
  2. I did not see anybody in the park. (Interrogative)
    Ans: Did you see somebody in the park?
  3. I haven't submitted my assignment yet. (Affirmative)
    Ans: I have already submitted my assignment.
  4. The man walked slowly towards the door. (Negative)
    Ans: The man did not walk slowly towards the door.
  5. Is there anyone hiding in the cave? (Statement)
    Ans: There is someone hiding in the cave.
  6. Neither of the girls completed their work. (Affirmative)
    Ans: Both the girls completed their work.
  7. John usually plays with his dog in the garden. (Interrogative)
    Ans: Who does John usually play in the garden?
  8. Do you know the way to his house? (Statement)
    Ans: I know the way to his house.
  9. This gave him deep and lasting pleasure. (Negative)
    Ans: This did not give him deep and lasting pleasure.


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