Walt Whitman's poem "Song of the Open Road" comes from his 1856 book Leaves of Grass. Whitman characterizes the wide road in the first section as "a figurative voyage defined by freedom, independence, and affirmations of self, time, and place" (Kreidler). The path is open because it is free; there are no signs pointing toward any specific destination. It is a journey that can be made at will and which leads to many different places.
The path begins with a statement about being "not confined to a single place." This indicates that wherever you go, there is no limiting your movement to one particular location.
Secondly, Walt Whitman says that the path is "without aim or object." This means that you do not have to go anywhere in particular, nor does it matter what you do when you are on the path. All that matters is that you are using your mind to think about something without worrying about what that something is.
Thirdly, the path is "without limit." This means that you cannot reach any end point where you would feel restricted in what you could do or who you could be with. There is no such thing as too much freedom - unless you want to harm others, in which case more power to you.
Whitman thought that the complete experience of life exceeded expectations. Life is not rational or predictable; it is made up of limitless possibilities. The "open road" represents the ideal existence, which can alter at any time, just as a journey is subject to the whims of the weather and the route. The open road also symbolizes freedom, as there are no limits on what one can do or where one can go.
Whitman believed that every person has a special role to play in society. He advocated democracy, which means that power should be shared by all people equally. Whitman wanted to give voice to those who had been silenced for too long, including slaves and women. He felt that they were missing from the world of his time because they did not have any rights, and he was trying to change this situation.
Whitman was a great poet and writer. But more than this, he was an advocate for civil rights and social equality.
1 response (i) The poet says in verse two that the sole difference between the two paths was that the one he followed had the right to be picked (the better claim) since it was covered with grass and did not appear to have been used too much. The other path was worn by rain and traffic, but it could just as well have been the right one after all.
What is the poet's attitude toward the wide road? The poet walks to the broad road, light-footed and carefree. She goes where the road leads her and accepts what happens next with a shrug of the shoulder. The poet is not bound by the chains of tradition or history. He can change direction at any time and follow his heart's desire.
The poet has no choice but to go wherever the road takes him. He cannot sit at home waiting for inspiration to come. His job is to go out into the world and see what happens. Sometimes he encounters trouble on the road; other times, people help him carry his baggage. But never mind, he keeps walking!
As long as the road is clear of obstacles, the poet will never be stuck for ideas. New places, new people, new experiences: this is how the poet gains new insights and finds new ways to express himself/herself. There are no limits to what the poet can discover about himself/herself on the journey up the road leading to greatness.
Often, poets have had some kind of accident or illness that has made them slow down or stop traveling. They do not feel like a real poet anymore.