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Pioneers! O Pioneers!

Pioneers! O Pioneers!


by Walt Whitman

Pioneers! O Pioneers! Theme of Friendship

The pioneers of "Pioneers! O Pioneers!" are rugged, sure. And they keep themselves apart from the comforts of civilization. But they are not loners, no sir. Their bond to each other, including pioneers past and yet to come, is one of their defining characteristics. Their unity is reinforced over and over, as our speaker describes them repeatedly as moving in a single group or formation.

Questions About Friendship

  1. Why is friendship important to our speaker? Surely pioneers need to be rugged, need to be young and strong, able to break with the comforts of the past and blaze new trails. But why is their camaraderie an important part of their character?
  2. How does this idea of friendship connect with the sense of unity we get from the descriptions of the pioneers moving like a single unit or formation?
  3. How does the idea of friendship play into how our speaker sees America?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Pioneers are so bonded because the west wasn't won by individuals—it was won by cooperation.

These pioneers are individuals. The speaker just chooses to gloss over that fact, because pioneering is a national endeavor, not a personal one.

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