With and Without Wheels
"Perhaps the ultimate road movie outcast, Mona does not cruise the highway on a sleek motorbike, sporting a sexy leather jacket, wreaking subversive havoc. This European road movie refuses to romaticize rebellious driving/traveling, as most American road movies... do. ...Mona is ugly and disheveled; she has no car nor any impulse to drive, a truly disturbing homeless drifter." (Laderman 267)
The leads in both Vagabond and Easy Rider are societal outcasts. Billy, Wyatt and Mona have no place to call home and are shunned by "normal" culture. All encounter situations where they are ostracized and pushed away from civilization, though the extent to which this occurs differs between movies. In Easy Rider, Billy and Wyatt are on the open road, free to travel where they please with plenty of money to get them to their destination. While they are not welcome in some places, such as the diner, there are plenty of people who romanticize them, including the girls in the diner. They are the new masculine, that has yet to be accepted everywhere. Mona, on the otherhand, is at the bottom of society, and there is no niche for her to fill, no place for a woman drifter to survive. She has no money and must accept odd jobs to earn a few bucks or a ride to her next destination. While she is idealized by Yolande, who thinks she is perfectly free and in an ideal relationship, this is a rare occurance. Yolande is later proven wrong when she crosses Mona's path again, realizing that Mona is unsettled and has no true companions. Mona lacks feminity, partly in an attempt to survive on the open road. Nothing about her is romanticized and it is as if she barely occupies a place on earth. She is unable to take any opportunity to settle down, no matter that she may have dreams of leading a "normal" life. This happens at the goat farm, where she is offered a plot to farm and a place to stay, but she has no work ethic and is kicked out. She is a dirty drifter who, as a female, has no chance of reentering society. Billy and Wyatt, as sexualized males on motorbikes, occupy an edge position in society, while Mona, a dirty, unfeminine drifter has no place in European culture.