Study Guide

Song of the Open Road Freedom and Confinement

By Walt Whitman

Freedom and Confinement

Nothing quite says "freedom" like an open road. You can go forward, go backward, or even pull off—the choice is yours. Footloose and fancy-free, travelers along an open road are escape artists of a kind. Just think of all the places they aren't: behind a work desk, stuck in a classroom, standing in a check-out line, or trapped at home. Nope, these guys are cruising along life's highways and byways in a way that allows them to break free of the chains of daily life. To the speaker of "Song of the Open Road," that's a big part of the attraction.

Questions About Freedom and Confinement

  1. What does the poem suggest that the speaker might be escaping by taking to the open road?
  2. What, according to the poem, is the price of this freedom? Does the speaker think it's worth it? How can you tell?
  3. Is constant travel itself a kind of confinement? How might the speaker answer that question?
  4. How does Whitman's writing style communicate the theme of freedom and confinement?

Chew on This

There's a fine line between travel and escape. The speaker seems to be running away from life in this poem, rather than toward it.

This speaker nails it. The only way to get free is to get out there and get moving.

This is a premium product

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

Please Wait...