Study Guide

Song of the Open Road Section 11

By Walt Whitman

Section 11

  • Listen up. Our speaker's going to be honest with us.
  • He's not giving out any "old smooth prizes" (142)—hmm, like giant front bicycle tires?
  • Instead, he's offering up some "new rough prizes." Great—maybe he means fresh loofahs.
  • We don't get any more details. Instead, we're told that, "These are the days that must happen to you" (143). That seems like a pretty fair assessment.
  • Also, you know that savings account? Yeah, ditch it. Our speaker says that you won't be piling up riches.
  • Instead, you're going to be spending that money "with a lavish hand," all over town (145).
  • He's got more news for you: as soon as you arrive in the city you were destined to be in, you want to pick up and hit the road again. So don't unpack.
  • The folks you ditch don't understand it, and they may even mock you, but you just hand out some "passionate kisses of parting" (149).
  • Don't let those stay-behinders hold you back.

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