What does the road mean in "Easy Rider"? How was this conveyed to you as a viewer?
In Easy Rider, the road is an opportunity for two privileged men to shed the "burdens" they're faced with in society and to live the freewheeling life they feel they deserve. They get to reject the culture that tells them how to wear their hair and dress in favor of freedom, even though mainstream culture gives them a lot of power anyway. The clear dichotomy between the road and the small towns demonstrates the obviously preferable nature of the road. In town, the men are ridiculed and in danger whereas on the road they are able to smoke, drink, laugh, and be among people who understand them. The shots of the road in the film are clearly celebratory and focus on the majesty around them. This uncritical view of American environmental splendor reflects how the film doesn't address many perspectives inherent to the America the film celebrates. It is clear that the road only functions as a protection against oppression for Billy, Captain America, and people like them since they're the only people we see on the road. The absence of anyone else emphasizes its personal nature. People of color and women need not apply.