North Americans go out to be alone.

Source: Marshall McLuhan: The Medium and the Messenger : a Biography by Philip Marchand

I can't understand the meaning of this sentence. What does this sentence mean?

Context -

McLuhan had a notion that North Americans go out to be alone. And he once shared this feeling to Henry Ford II, but Henry seemed apparently incurious about it. But later McLuhan discovered that his idea was used by Ford Motor Company without giving him any credit whatsoever. Based on his idea that company made an advertisement and started running it on television. That advertisement showed a man leaving a house which was full of people screaming at one another. The man got into his car, rolled up the windows, and putting on an ineffable contentment on his face drove off.

What I think this sentence means -

North Americans seek to be alone while going out.

Am I right? Please let me know the meaning of this sentence.

  • What is the source? Context is needed.
    – user3169
    Feb 21, 2015 at 2:17
  • I hate to see a new user's questions closed, but it's very unclear what you're asking. Could you provide a link to your source? Who or what is McLuhan? We could guess, but you'll need to elaborate more to get a proper answer. Feb 21, 2015 at 3:31
  • @Jason Patterson -- Marshall McLuhan was a critic of 1960s and 1970s television as a medium.
    – Jasper
    Feb 21, 2015 at 5:32

1 Answer 1


McLuhan had a notion that North Americans go out to be alone.

?North Americans seek to be alone while going out.

To be alone = in order to be alone = with the intention of getting away from other people.

Go out = leave the house

  • You beat me to it! (I've typed only a line or two, anyway.) Just want to add a definition I found in Macmillan Dictionary: to 1b. used for showing the purpose of an action. Feb 21, 2015 at 12:57
  • @Damkerng T: At the moment I'm bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and caffeine-fortified.
    – TimR
    Feb 21, 2015 at 13:07
  • Thanks everyone it really seems easy to get but I thought there might be cultural thing about it Feb 22, 2015 at 15:19

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