Study Guide

Song of the Open Road Section 3

By Walt Whitman

Section 3

  • In this new section, our speaker is no longer talking to the road.
  • Nope—he's bringing in more inanimate objects to chat with.
  • He's talking to the air, which gives him breath. He's talking to "objects," which give shape to his thoughts. He's talking to the light, which "wraps me and all things in delicate equable [even-tempered] showers" (26). And lastly he's talking to the paths worn along the roadsides. This guy sure is chatty.
  • He thinks that all of these things are full of "unseen existences" (28). These objects—maybe for that very reason—are all "so dear" to him.
  • In the section's second stanza, our speaker sends out a ton of additional invitations to his already-crowded chat party. He talks to everything from city curbstones to porches to pavements. He's basically addressing every physical feature of a city.
  • What he says to these features is that, since they've been close to the people who live there (who walk over the curbstones, sit on the porches, etc.), they have "imparted" (made known) a sense of those people's spirits to themselves (36). In other words, these city features contain a sense of the spirits of these people.
  • More important, our speaker thinks that they can pass this connection "secretly" on to him as well (36). He thinks that these spirits will be friendly ("amiable") (37).
  • Are you noticing a pattern, yet? This guy sure likes… well, everything—seen, unseen, spiritual, physical, you name it.

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