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Questions of Travel
Questions of Travel
by Elizabeth Bishop


We’ve got your back. With the Tough-O-Meter, you’ll know whether to bring extra layers or Swiss army knives as you summit the literary mountain. (10 = Toughest)

(4) Base Camp

"Questions of Travel" is not too difficult to read at first. Our speaker is asking and attempting to answer some questions about travelling. No biggie.

But when we read more closely, we realize how confusing the poem actually is. What's the speaker's point of view? What conclusions does she actually come to by the end of the poem? The poem is pretty ambiguous, and this makes it a bit tricky to understand.

It's also got some long sentences and complicated syntax, which gets a little jumbled in the poem's question and answer form. Don't worry if you're a bit confused; you're confused because, well, your speaker is confused. Hey, at least you're in it together.

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