Study Guide

Where the Sidewalk Ends Exploration

By Shel Silverstein

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Even though the place "Where the Sidewalk Ends" may not actually exist in reality, it definitely exists in our minds, and we still need a sense of adventure and exploration to reach it. Following those chalk-white arrows to an unknown world requires you to be brave and bold. If you're willing, you'll be rewarded with spectacular new discoveries. Once you take that leap, this poem suggests, you'll find yourself in a world unbound by pavement and full of wonder.

Questions About Exploration

  1. Why do you think the speaker walks so slowly along the path to where the sidewalk ends? Why not hurry up and get there already?
  2. Why do you think the path is marked in "chalk-white" arrows? Does that give us any hints as to what this place might be like? 
  3. Do you think that the place where the sidewalk ends is literal, figurative, or both? Why?      
  4. Do you think the nature imagery in the poem might have something to do with exploration? If so, what's the connection?

Chew on This

The exploration depicted in this poem is figurative, reaching into the realms of the imagination rather than an actual physical place.

The exploration in this poem is literal, depicting a trip into the countryside.

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