I Was My Own Route Summary

This poem is about the deep and intimate liberation of women. It proposes the search for new trails that allow women to define the exact path to follow: the choice of women’s own route. It is based on the feminist ideas of Julia de Burgos, rebelling against the social injustices of the time during the late 1930s and the fight that is still in force today.

She recounts her experience as a woman being dominated in the United States. Burgos had African descent, and her main interest was to define who she was and what she wanted as a woman. In a sexist and unequal society in which women rightly want to have the same opportunities, rights and benefits as men do possess.

The poem shows that a woman never has to feel inferior due to external ideas of an ideology or a man because society should not decide her destiny or anything about her life. She emphasizes the importance of not hiding, or as the lyrical self expresses it best she should not practice ‘a game of hide and seek’ with her being. On the contrary, she must continue forward, despite the obstacles along the way.

It is a reflective poem, with a rebellious character, since she shows that she does not want to follow anything established by old guards, i.e. the society of her time. Only she, and not the social rules, will be able to decide who she is and what she should do.

I Was My Own Route Exercises Solution

Understanding, the Text

Answer the following questions.

2. Why did the speaker try to be the way men wanted her to be? 

Ans.: The speaker tried to be the way men wanted her to be because she was raised and grown up in such a way that she couldn’t think of going out of a patriarchal society.

b.What do you understand by her feet ‘would not accept walking backwards’? 

Ans.: Her feet would not accept walking backwards reflects the speakers desire that she does not want to return back to the same patriarchal society where she was once the victim of it.

C.Who are the old guards ? Why did they grow desperate? 

Ans.: Old guards here in the poem refer to the conservative traditions, cultures, religions, etc. of a patriarchal society that do not want or like changes.

They grew desperate.because the speaker broke the chain by trying to be free from their conservative laws to enjoy her freedom.

d.How did the speaker have a feeling of intimate liberation ? 

Ans.: The speaker had ‘a feeling of intimate liberation’ when she realized that the taste of her freedom of new journey now was more appealing and empowering than her past with patriarchal society.

e.Why did the speaker’s desire to follow men warp in her?

Ans.: The speakers desire to follow men warped in her because she realized the sweetness of her freedom as she detached herself from the patriarchal society and she did not want to lose the self-respect she had earned.

Reference to the context

a.What does the speaker mean when she says she was playing a game of hide and seek with her being’? 

Ans.: Julia de Burgos, in the poem ‘I was my Own Route’ depicts how the women are burdened with the patriarchal ideologies from the past. Therefore, de Burgos urges the women to detach themselves from the past so as to locate their identity within.

The writer in the poem reflects herself as the victim of patriarchal society. In her past, she had entangled with the system of a patriarchal society guided by old guards. She says that she was in dilemma between staying as a part of a patriarchal society or breaking the societal ties and move on to kiss her freedom. The speaker also says that it was not easy to break the chains that were holding her and at the same time her back was being ripped by the old guards as she was advancing forward. Later she realized she should not play the game of hide and seek because her destination, happiness and independence lie beyond the old guards that she was tied with. Hence, when the speaker says she was playing a game of hide and seek with her being, she means that she was struggling consistently with the dilemma of staying with the norms of old guards or revolting with the old guards in pursuit of her freedom.

b.Why, in your view, was her back ripped by the old guards as she was advancing forward? 

Ans.: Old guards are those people in an organization or society who oppose change and whose beliefs and ideas belong to a period in the past. The writer was the victim of patriarchal society and had been tied with the norms of old guards and patriarchal society. After entangling in the patriarchal society for a long time, she finally dared to break the chains of the patriarchal society. Such revolution was intolerable to the old guards that were too conservative to accept the changes in its norms. The freedom of the writer against the patriarchal society could lead to a sense of revolt among the victims of the society. Therefore, in order to maintain the norms of its patriarchal kind and suppress the movement of females for their freedom, the writers back were ripped by the old guards as she was advancing forward.

c.What, according to the speaker, did it feel like to be free?

Ans.: The writer in the poem struggles with the conservative chains of old guards where women had to behave accordingly as the men wish. She had revolted against the old guards to free herself from the chains that had tied her within the bounds and norms of the society. She seems to enjoy her freedom more than anything else. In the poem, she says that she is enjoying her new journey and is dedicated to move forward and forward. She also said that she had the feeling of intimate liberation that showed her the paths of a new journey and purpose of life. She proposes the search for new trails that allow her to define the exact path to follow the choice of her own route. Overall she felt like she was free and her freedom was the sweetest thing that inspires her to never return back to where she came from.

d.Why does the speaker prefer the present to the past ? 

Ans.: Being the victim of the patriarchal society, the writer recalls her sufferings in the past and had to live in the shadows of men. She revolted against the old guards to gain her freedom. She realized that there is nothing greater than freedom and that freedom defines the values of somebody. She says that she was being haunted by the old guards during her freedom journey. journey but she never gave up the hopes but instead she kissed the paths of her new The writer quit the way of living where she used to be as men liked her to be. Hence, the writer prefers the present to the past because she knows the importance of freedom in the present away from the ties of old guards.

e.John Donne, in his poem “No Man is an island”, says, “No man is an island entire of itself.” Would Burgos agree with Donne? Do you agree with Donne or Burgos? 

Ans: The phrase ‘no man is an island’ expresses the idea that human beings cannot live isolated from others and they need to be part of a community for their survival, security and comfort. A human being living alone is like a person living on an isolated island which is not possible in the present day world.

Burgos disagrees with Donne as she has presented herself as the speaker in the poem who has revolutionized to break the ties of old guards. The poet through her poem gives us the message that one should be able to break the norms of the conservative society in order to gain freedom. If she agrees with the Donne then again she has to surrender her freedom in the hands of the old guard and her life wouldn’t be joyous and she would find herself as a slave of a patriarchal society. However, the main motive of Burgos behind this poem is the woman of the society getting uncompromised freedom and living independently rather than being isolated.

My opinion to a great extent agrees with John Donne since every one of us is an integral part of our society and we never can go away from the society and the common history that we have shared together. However, I too as Burgos, do not agree with the irrational societal norms, values and superstitions that tend to seize women’s freedom and make them a slave of the patriarchal society. I do believe that we all need society but we need a society that is just, rational and equal to all the members of society irrespective of race, colour, caste, gender, religion, ethnicity and other aspects.

Reference beyond the text

a. Write an essay on My Idea of Freedom.

Freedom refers to the power or right to act, speak or think as one wants. ‘Freedom’ is the understanding, that you can do some actions when you need. It is the opportunity of the choice. People should choose where they want to live or where they want to study. No one has the right to take their freedom. All people should have the right to say all that they think. Every thought needs to get attention. Freedom means that all people have the opportunity to make the choice and to be responsible for it.

Today we can choose our favourite book, the place where we want to study or our friends. We can choose our hobby or which music to listen. All of us should understand that internal freedom is more important than physical freedom. People are responsible for all their actions. It means that they are not free; they are responsible for their life. The major types of freedom that a person needs in his/her life are as follows:

the freedom to live

the freedom to maintain privacy

the freedom to religion

the freedom to the choice

the freedom of the thoughts and of the word the freedom of the activity

Every human being by birth is a free being but gradually with the pace of time, the freedom of human beings are restricted by societal values, cultures, religion and way of living. However, we all should try to keep ourselves above all of these things and remain free and happy. The only thing we need to consider is that while marinating our freedom, we should not trouble others in maintaining their freedom.

Hence, everyone should know what exactly freedom is and find their own explanation of the freedom they are looking for because. It is only the freedom that gives us opportunities to explore our life and enables us to stay content and happy.

b.Not all people, however, seem to agree with the kind of freedom upheld by Burgos in poem. For example, William Faulkner, in his novel Requiem for a Nun, says, “”The past is never dead. It’s not even past. All of us labour in webs spun long before we were born, webs of heredity and environment, of desire and consequence, of history and eternity. “Do you agree with Faulkner? Why? Why not?

Ans.: Burgos had given us the message of extreme feminism and she states that one should revolt against the conservative patriarchal society to gain their freedom. She further should forget the past and live on their own breaking the ties with society Because we cannot leave our past as she mentions in the poem.

I agree with the above phrases said by Faulkner that the past is never dead. It’s not even past. All of us labour in webs spun long before we were born, webs of heredity an environment, of desire and consequence, of history and eternity. That is to mention that our past actions will catch up with us, sometime in our future – be they positive or negative – they will cross our paths. To me, this quote basically means that the past always does not remain past as in isolated form because events keep repeating throughout history time and again. Life’s challenges, in most cases, are our own creations because of choices we made in our pasts. These consequences, by some people, can be felt shortly after their choices because of the “resonance of images and events” haunting them; whether or not their actions might have been necessary, their conscience haunts them of the outcome. Thus, I believe in Faulkner’s statement, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past. All of us labour in webs spun long before we were born, webs of heredity and environment, of desire and consequence, of history and eternity.