Explanation of Poem O Where are you going

1st year English Book III poem O Where are you going explanation is explained here with reference to the context. The poem is written by W.H Auden. The explanation of all the stanzas of the poem is given below.

O where are you going Poem explanation

This poem is a conversation between two unreal persons personified as reader and rider.

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These lines have been taken from the poem O Where are You going Written by W. H. Auden.


In this poem, the poet has skillfully created a scene and dialogue between two imaginary persons. The poet has used various situations where these two imaginary characters talk to each other. One is the symbol of hope and courage and the other represents frustration and negativity. Through this poem, the poet tells us that the way to success is not clear and easy. We need courage and determination to cover this distance.

Stanza 1 Explanation

stanza 1 explanation
This stanza is a dialogue between reader and rider, the two imaginary persons. The reader asks the rider where he is going. He tells him not to go there. He says that that valley is very dangerous. The furnaces burn there. There are heaps of dung and rubbish which gives poisonous odor. That bad smell will madden him and he will lose his senses. The reader tries to stop the rider by all means. He tells him that the gap in the ground is a grave where he will be buried forever. As the reader is the symbol of negativity and discouragement, his role is to stop everyone who is moving towards one's destination.

Stanza 2 Explanation

Stanza 2 explanation
In this stanza fearer tries to frighten the farer. He tells him that soon there will be evening. He will not be able to cover the distance and he will have to face strange darkness. The fearer is here the symbol of fear and discouragement. He tells the rider that something is missing in his posture. He tells him that there is a difficult path to be crossed ahead. His footsteps will tremble and he may fell down. The farer listens to his talk and keeps on.

Stanza 3 explanation

O where are you going poem explanation
In this stanza, the poet has again used two imaginary characters, the horror, and the hearer. The horror represents the pessimist people we come across in our everyday life while hearer represents a courageous and determined person who is ready to challenge the difficulties of life. The horror tries to scare the hearer by telling him about various suspicious things like bird, a shape in the twisted trees, a strange figure following him rapidly, and the spot on his skin. He tries his best to distract the hearer by telling about inauspicious things.

Stanza 4 explanation

stanza 4 explanation

This is the last stanza of the poem. The poet has described symbolic characters talking to each other in this poem. Now in this last stanza, the poet has expressed the reaction of all three imaginary persons, the rider, farer, and hearer towards what reader, fearer and horror had said to them respectively. The rider said that he is going out of this house. the Farer said to the fearer that his footsteps can never be moved if he does not try. Hearer said to the horror that all those inauspicious things were looking for him. They left them there and went to there destinations.

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Explanation of Poem O Where are you goingExplanation of Poem O Where are you goingReviewed by Saif Ullah ZahidonMay 17, 2019Rating: 5

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