CONTEXT: In this poem, the poet tells us that life is full of hardships. Only crazy people can get their aim. This poem is a dialogue between two persons. They have been presented as reader and rider. The reader in the poem threatens the rider not to continue his journey because the valley is full of hardships. But, the rider is not ready to stop his journey.

EXPLANATION: LINES 1 TO 4: This poem is a dialogue between a rider and a reader. In these lines, the reader is threatening the rider. He threatens him that the valley is full of dangers. It is full of furnaces. There are heaps of garbage. There is also a wide gap in his way. This gap will be a grave for the travellers. But, the rider does not pay attention to these apprehensions and continues his journey fearlessly.

EXPLANATION: LINES 5 TO 8: In these lines, the fearer is advising the farer not to continue his journey to the valley because the valley is full of dangers. There will be darkness on his way. That darkness will cause a delay. He will have to stop his journey. His footsteps will touch the stones and grass only. His deep insight would be fruitless. In this way, he would be unable to reach his destination.

EXPLANATION: LINES 9 TO 12: In these lines, the horror tells the hearer that there are many dangers in his life. He threatens the hearer that a shape in the thick and twisted trees and a bird seen by the hearer were actually different ghosts. They will put him to death. Then, he further frightens him saying that the spot on his body is an indication that he will suffer from some fatal disease and die soon. So, it is better for him not to continue his journey.

EXPLANATION: LINES 13 TO 16: Different opposite forces are working to discourage the traveller from going beyond. In these lines, the traveller snubs all the forces working against him one by one. He tells them that God helps those who help themselves. The hardships are natural. If he can not face the hardships, he can never succeed in his life. The traveller says so and goes on his way leaving the opposite forces behind him.

Short Questions

Q.No.1: Who has written this poem?                                                                                                                                                   Answer: This poem has been written by W.H. Auden. His greatest interest is in political and social writings. He is lively and provocative, skilled and ingenious.

Q.No.2: What is the theme of the poem? OR What is the central idea of the poem? OR What does the poet want to convey to his readers?

Answer: This poem is a dialogue between two imaginary persons i.e. reader and rider. The reader threatens the rider not to continue his journey but the rider does not follow him. The poet wants to convey the idea, “Unceasing effort brings success.”

Q.No.3. What kind of feelings does the poet create in the minds of his readers? (GW-06, 07, AJK, GW, LR, FB, MN-08, SG-11)

Answer: The poet creates in us a strong feeling. Whenever, we are ready to start our journey, different fears and doubts surround us but if we have courage, we can do anything. We should not feel afraid of anything. “Struggle is the key to unlock the locks of misfortune.”

Q.No.4:  What do you feel after reading the poem, O Where Are You Going?” (FB-09)

Answer: After reading the poem, we feel, “The way to glory and success is vague and uncertain, but it can be paved through with courage and perseverance.”

Q.No.5: what does the title of the poem signify? (DG-11)                         Answer: The title of the poem signifies the importance of struggle in life. A man, who remains determined, always succeeds in his life.

Q.No.6: What do the reader and rider stand for? (BP-07, GW-10, DG-10, RWP-10, DGK-12)

Answer: The Reader stands for the coward person. It symbolizes the opposing force. The Rider stands for bold and courageous person who is fearless.