Shel Silverstein Poems Where The Sidewalk Ends Analysis Essay

This poem is my favourite poem due to the double meaning of the poet’s words you could read one thing but it truly means something else. That is why I chose this poem for my Culminating Activity. Shel Silverstein is a children’s poet who wrote “Where the Sidewalk Ends” as a child’s poem but was really intended for adults. In the poem he is hinting that adults need to take a step back and put themselves back as children to find joy and passion again. I feel that this message is important in everyday life because people take life too seriously and later regret not had enjoying themselves more. This poem has a rhythm that could keep a child interested with a happy story but as a deep underlying message. “Where the Sidewalk Ends” uses imagery, symbolism and a hint of sound devices to strengthen that underlying message.
Silverstein used symbolism to give that double meaning to the words he wrote, for example “and the children, they know,” (Stanza 3 Line 3) could simply mean that the children they know where the sidewalk ends, or it could mean that having the mind of a child will show us the way to a happier place. I felt that the poet uses sidewalk as a word with deeper meaning. I see it that adults have created a depressing world, with industrialization, factories, and pollution. Therefore the children don’t know this dark world yet ant they live in an innocent world that is bright and comfortable. The first Stanza is symbolizing a place without the buildings and sidewalks, which is to me where the children live, in dreams and their imaginations. I believe this because when I read the first stanza is gives off a happy description of a bright sunny place. However the second stanza to me symbolizes a However the second stanza describes a place of darkness and sadness, which is why I think that this is where the adults live. Then after that the poem tells the adults to follow the children to a world of happiness this is symbolism because instead of right that he wrote...

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Two times Grammy-winning and once Oscar nominated American poet Shel Silverstein has earned himself a cult status when it comes to children’s poetry. However, it is not only the children who dearly love Uncle Shel but adults too. Here, he invites everyone to come to a place away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Where the Sidewalk Ends


There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.

Analysis of “Where the sidewalk ends”

Shel Silverstein’s poem “Where the sidewalk ends” shares its name with the book it was published in, in the year 1974. Although Silverstein mostly writes for children, however, just like all of his other poems, this one too carries a lot of meaning for adults. The speaker tells us about an imaginary la-la land which is a relief from the hubbub of the regular world. In the regular world, the “smoke blows black” and the “dark street winds and bends”. However, in the place “where the sidewalk ends”, the “grass grows soft and white”, the wind is cool and “pepperminty”. To reach there we will follow the children and “walk with a walk that is measured and slow”.

Sidewalks are something that we associate with the city – when the sidewalk ends, the chaotic city turns away and we encounter raw nature. However, the speaker is beckoning our wild imaginations by luring us with baits such as the cool “peppermint wind” where the “moon-bird rests”. He mentions that the “grass grows soft and white” – the color white advocates peace and purity unlike the scratchy green grass of the city.

The people in the cities work tirelessly, with great effort and energy while failure is looming over them. The city-people are like the “asphalt flowers”; they have to strive to survive. The speaker is asking the readers to come with him to a stress-free, childlike place where everyone can reunite with nature. Earlier, the speaker had used the sensory appeal of sight, smell and touch to tempt us and yet once again, he is trying to hit us with a technicolor experience when he tells us that, “We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow”. He wants us to live the moment – the fresh air, the crunch of the grass.

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