Study Guide

Song of the Open Road Section 7

By Walt Whitman

Section 7

  • Hey, guess what—the speaker's still describing life on the open road.
  • He starts off this stanza describing the "efflux of the Soul" (95), which is just a fancy way of saying that the Soul seems to freely flow out from within, through "embower'd gates" (in other words, the gates of internal shelter) and into the free, open world (96).
  • All that soul-following encourages a lot of questions:
  • What are these "yearnings"?
  • What are these "thoughts in the darkness"?
  • Why are there men and women who cause "the sun-light [to] [expand] [the speaker's] blood" when they get near to him?
  • Why does the speaker's "pennants [flags] of joy" deflate when these men and women take off?
  • Why are there trees that put "large and melodious thoughts" into the speaker's head every time he passes under them? Those thoughts seem to drop on him like fruit, no matter what the season.
  • What does the speaker exchange quickly with strangers when he encounters them, like carriage drivers and fishermen? We'd like an answer to this one, actually.
  • What makes the speaker so open to men and women's "good-will," and what makes them so open to his own (97-105)?
  • So many questions, speaker-guy. We have to keep reading for any possible answers, though.

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