In “The Vagabond,” what is the meaning of the blue finger?

In Robert Louis Stevenson's “The Vagabond,” the speaker's blue finger, stung and bitten by the chill wind, symbolizes the hardships he faces as a vagabond who continues his wandering ways, even in the cold weather.

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The speaker in Robert Louis Stevenson's poem “The Vagabond” is a traveler who lives his life on the road. He has no set home, but he loves his life. All he wants is the heavens above him and the road beneath his feet, and he is satisfied.

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The speaker in Robert Louis Stevenson's poem “The Vagabond” is a traveler who lives his life on the road. He has no set home, but he loves his life. All he wants is the heavens above him and the road beneath his feet, and he is satisfied.

When autumn comes and the air turns cold, he will still follow his vagabond ways. He admits, however, that the cold wind bites his “blue finger.” His fingers turn blue in the chilly air as he wanders about in the open fields. This is a hardship for sure. Indeed, the vagabond's blue finger can symbolize the difficulties and trials of his chosen way of life. He appreciates the warmth of the “fireside haven” on cold days, but he will never give up his vagabond life for the sake of autumn or winter. He will keep on traveling, not asking for wealth or hope or love or friendship. He will not demand an easy path or comfort. He will accept the trials that befall him with a steadfast courage and a commitment to tramping through the countryside in warmth or cold.

“Let the blow fall soon or late,” the speaker invites. Whatever happens to him, he will endure, for he has the “heaven above,” the “earth around,” and the “road before” him. Not even blue fingers or any other adversity will stop his journeying as a vagabond.

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