Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

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Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein Where the Sidewalk Ends is a poem which speaks about crossing the border of childhood, on to the real world of adulthood. In the poem he speaks of two made up lands. One where “the grass grows soft and white, and there the sun burns crimson bright.” This made up land is represented in the poem as childhood, or in his words, where the sidewalk ends. The other land “where the smoke blows back” is interpreted as adulthood. While reading the poem, Shel assumes that his reader will have some sort of imagination, due to his fictional descriptions. Shel begins the poem by telling us where the sidewalk ends. He tells us what it is like where the sidewalk ends. The way he describes the place and how highly he speaks of it shows that he feels deeply about it. He speaks of a place where the grass grows white. Clearly this is inferred as a figment of Shel’s imagination, a fairy tale land, so to speak. The place that Shel is talking about is childhood. In the second stanza he tells us to “leave the place where the smoke blows black and the dark street winds and bends.” He is relating to the world that adults are in, showing how far off it is from the lives of children. In order to find the real meaning in this poem, you must not interpret in a literal sense. Shel says “And watch where the chalk-white arrows go to the place where the sidewalk ends,” meaning that if we are alert and aware, we can find our way back to childhood. What he is trying to tell us that we should leave the world of adulthood, to live again as children. In the last stanza, he says “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.” In that, he is telling us
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