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Pioneers! O Pioneers!

Pioneers! O Pioneers!

  

by Walt Whitman

Pioneers! O Pioneers! Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Is the idea of a pioneer the same now as it was when this poem was written? Do we still have this kind of pioneer? If so, who are you thinking of? And if not, what do our pioneers look like today?
  2. Why do you think our speaker chooses to talk about pioneers mostly as a big, almost abstract group? How would it be different if he focused instead on specific individuals?
  3. What do you think is the main reason our speaker admires pioneers so much? 
  4. What's with all the naming of states? Is there something particularly American about this poem, or about the things that our speaker praises?
  5. Why does our speaker keep repeating that one line at the end of each stanza? What's the purpose or effect of that? 
  6. What's with all this military imagery? How is pioneering like waging war? Or is it at all?

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