I Was My Own Route by Julia De Bergos Summary Class 12 English

I Was My Own Route Summary PDF Class 12 English

Summary of I Was My Own Route by Julia De Burgos with PDF Class 12 English Book

I was my Own Route Overall Summary

In "I Was My Own Route," Julia de Burgos, a radical feminist, says that she doesn't believe that men should decide how a woman's life and journey should go. She thinks of men when she considers about gender inequality and the way men treat women.

Meaning of Stanza 1

It is clear from the beginning that there was a difference between what was wanted of her and what she is. She doesn't like patriarchal ideas and wants to start on a new path of her own, not play hide and seek like everyone else does. Through this, she talks about her own freedom and the freedom of women. She is looking for new ways to go about her journey, not following the path set out by men in the society. During this time, she makes fun of these paths and chooses a new one that fits her own needs better. Julia de Burgos said that social inequality was a problem at the time this poem was written. This poem makes a point of gender discrimination as a response.

Meaning of Stanza 2

In the second stanza, the speaker comes across many barriers to her new path, but she overcomes them all with her new determination. She remembers the old traditional road with her wounded heart and old blogs.

Meaning of Stanza 3

In the third stanza, the speaker has a lot of trouble balancing her own life with walking on the new and true path of life. She wants to go far into the future and get all the freedom that men in the society have already seen. So, she kisses a lot of new paths to see all the freedom and happiness in her life.

Meaning of Stanza 4

In the fourth stanza, the speaker finds herself in a situation that has already been set. There is no history, future, edges, or anything else except the world and rules for men and women who are under the shadow of men. Patriarchy has set up a lot of rules for women to keep them inside the four walls of the house. She finds her situation difficult because it is filled with barriers and traditions that were made by men in the past. It shows a world where there doesn't seem to be any hope for women far and wide.

Meaning of Stanza 5

In the fifth stanza, the speaker tells her what she is and what the men in her community want her to be. Then, she claims that she is all she wants to be because she works so hard to achieve her goals.

Meaning of Stanza 6

A person who reads this poem says that she wants to be different from what patriarchal society wants her to be. Disappointing futures make her very down and she wants to get over painful things in her life even though it's hard.

Above all, the poem tells us that both men and women are part of the same society and both need freedom, liberation, independence, and so on in their lives. They should be able to follow their own paths, not those set by the patriarchal society.

Also Read:'I Was My Own Route' Exercise

I Was My Own Route" Theme 

In this poem, speaker rejects the idea that men should decide how a woman's life and journey should go. She connects man mentality to gender inequity and male bias towards females. She is looking for a new way to go about her own journey, one that she can choose for herself. They should be able to live their lives how they want to. This poem shows that both men and women are important. As a result, her life should not be rooted in the idea of other people, because she has the same basic rights as men in the constitution.

Main Summary

A precursor to the contemporary Latina/o writers, de Burgos, in her 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 poem focuses on the personal freedom and liberation of women. She is looking for fresh ways to navigate her journey, choosing her own path. This poem makes agenda of gender discrimination as a response to the social inequality that existed at the time as articulated by Julia de Burgos (1938).

In her home nation, the United States, she tells about her life as an oppressed woman. A lady of African origin, she was interested in identifying her own individuality and her ambitions. She desired equal opportunities, privileges, and advantages, and also demanded that these equalities must be present in this sexist and unequal society.

This poem, proves that a woman should never feel less important than men or that her life should be subject to the beliefs of others, since she is not ruled by society. As the poem goes on to say, he shouldn't play "hide and seek" with her soul. Rather, she has to keep going, even if there are barriers.

This poem is thoughtful, with a rebellious nature, as the author expresses a dislike for traditional societal norms. She alone can choose who she is and what she must accomplish.

Interpretation of The Poem, stanza by stanza:

Meaning of first stanza

Presented as a woman refusing to be defined by men, the words highlight the topic of women's liberation as they seek their freedom in the place where they find themselves in society.

She placed her feet firmly on the ground, and followed no set route, but selected her own way, her own path. She moved away from the game of portraying the role her own self to "kiss the new routes."

Meaning of second stanza

In an era when social norms limited the limits of women's behaviour, the poem self recals how it overcame the frantic flapping of old feet, relating at every step of the trip to the limitations imposed on women. She explains in a heart-broken picture how to throw back her with the old logs that represent the obstacles she is willing to overcome, as painful the process may be.

Meaning of 3rd Stanza

Here the poetic person frees herself from the tree, from the trunks that have picked her up, detaches herself from the limb and moves away from all that has been taught. That moves away from this excellent domesticating horizon.

As "a feeling of freedom" emerges, it begins to see a change in her face that comes from her inner emotions and is followed by "the kiss of the new routes" (the kiss of the new paths). It symbolizes a new balance in life and the reality.

Meaning of 4th Stanza

The poet is completely aware of who she is, what she represents, and where she wants to go. It looks like a "bud" growing from the earth. It has now its own set of roots, a history which started on soils with little promise for a future. Men have put boundaries on soils without limits. She struck the ground up to plant her own roots, overcome obstacles and trace her way to be herself.

Meaning of 5th Stanza

In the phrase, "And I was everything in my life..." the poetic self shows the feeling of strength that comes with choosing to go on towards its own path. It was the ideal chance to connect to your true selves and meet them. Your life is now fully understood and fully independent.

Meaning of 6th Stanza

Finally, the poetic self comes back to the first verse: "I wanted to be as men wanted me to be: an attempt at life," with the aim of describing in greater detail what it was like.

An existence hidden from itself, a life of disappointing future that she overcame by being conscious of her presence in the present. She transformed her urge to follow these men into a desire to go without any acknowledgement as the messengers disclosed the parade of regulations, roads and restrictions that she would have to follow when they told her.

How many stanzas are there in the poem? 

The poem consists of a total of six stanzas and 37 verses. Two essential elements of poetry are composition and rhyming.  It is evaluated by a rhyme of free lines, a far cry from the criteria usually used. It consists mostly of poetry from important works of art.


"I was my own my route" indicates dissatisfaction with the rules and limitations of society.

This poem encouraged the women of the 30-year-old who fought for their rights to be conscious of three extremely essential factors: their potential as women, their own life and their own feelings.

This poem teaches us about independence, freedom, to pursue our own path, even if we have trouble or others don't realize that we are leaving what is expected of us.

This poem is still relevant, since contrary to what we think, there is a cultural barrier in many women who cannot take over their life and don't have the freedom to chose.

Glossary of the poem

promissory (adj.): containing or conveying a promise

whiplash (n.): a blow with a whip

epochs (n.): periods of time in history or a person’s life, especially the ones marked by

important events of special characteristics

regal (adj.): of, like or fit for a king or queen; royal

warped (adj.): twisted out of normal or natural shape; strange and unpleasant

homage (n): things said or done to show great respect 

About the Author of Poem "I was My Own Route"

Born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, Julia de Burgos (1914-1953) moved to New York, where she worked as a journalist, and then Cuba, where she pursued further studies at the University of Havana. 

Returning to New York after two years in Cuba, de Burgos, a freedom fighter, served as the art and culture editor for the progressive newspaper Pueblos Hispanos. Predating the Nuyorican poetry movement, de Burgos’ poems deal with themes of women’s liberation and social justice. 

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