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Lit Project #1

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on 16 November 2012

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Transcript of Lit Project #1

Lit Project Group 1
Amit Morar
Colin Humble
Mayank Verma
Raman Stretsha "Ropewalk" "Ropewalk"
"Old Ironsides" By: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Ropewalk
Author Information Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

•He was born on February 27, 1807 in "Maine" (it was part of Massachusetts back then)
•He was the most famous and loved poet of the 19th century
•He is the only American honored in the Poets' corner of Westminster Abbey
•He attended Bowdoin College where he studied literature Ropewalk Title: Ropewalk, shows difficulties in the life of the working class during this time
Paraphrase: Basically, the poem is describing the scene of a Ropewalk where a man is working long and hard hours. The poem goes on to describe how the man is daydreaming about the many different uses of the rope that he is making. It shows the imagination that this period brought to everyday life, and it also showed the boring tasks that the working class had to perform
Figurative Language: Longfellow uses similes, metaphors, and personifications throughout the poem to compare the work at a Ropewalk to everyday life. For example: "The rope coils round and round/ Like a serpent at his feet." He also uses personifications such as "Ships rejoicing in the breeze," and "Anchors dragged thorough faithless sand."
Attitude/Shift: Longfellow uses a calm, collective, and cheery attitude when describing the serene setting of the Ropewalk. However, he shifts to a shadowy and ominous attitude when talking about the hard work that the ropewalkers must perform
Theme: The theme of this poem is to show how God is prevalent in everyday nature and to portray how God can guide anyone through difficult times.
Meter: The poem is written in blank verse
Rhyme Scheme: The poem follows an A,A,B,C,C,B rhyme scheme "Old Ironsides" Background Information

-"Old Ironsides" is the nickname given to the US Battle Ship, the USS Constitution.

-The USS Constitution fought in many battles including the Quasi War with France and the Barbary Wars with Tripoli.

-Holmes wrote about this ship because he was deeply fascinated with the history behind the ship and its commander, George Washington.

- Also, it was written to protest the dismantling of the ship (because it was outdated). The author believed it was a great piece of American history and should be preserved as such. Author Information Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.:

•He was born on August 29, 1809 in Cambridge, Massachusetts
•He was actually a physician most of his life and even taught at Harvard!
•He was raised by strict Calvinistic parents but went to Harvard, a Unitarian school
•His works were both humorous and critical
•One of his most famous poems is "Old Ironsides," which is about the naval ship, USS Constitution
•He helped found the Atlantic Monthly, a journal that was published in 1857 "Old Ironsides" Title: Old Ironsides, refers to the USS Constitution which was a symbol of victory for the US during the time of the War of 1812.
Paraphrase: The poem is about a young man who sets off to sea aboard Old Ironsides. He meets a young girl who he becomes friends with. Pretty soon, they become involved in the conflicts with the Barbary Pirates.
Figurative Language: The author uses personification to express the better qualities in the ship. For example: "Burst the cannon's roar." He also uses metaphors such as "Eagle of the sea," and "Meteor of the ocean's air."
Attitude: The attitude that the authors displays towards the ship is complementary, and praising and well as respectful for all that the ship has been through.
Theme: The theme of the poem is to have pride in one's country and to promote nationalism in order to evoke spirit within the citizens.
Meter: The poem is written in tetrameter and trimeter Background Information

- A Ropewalk is a narrow strip of land in which textiles or other goods were laid out in order to be twisted into a rope.

- They were very dangerous because they easily caught on fire, and the working conditions were very harsh (they were basically sweatshops).

- The ropes produced in the ropewalks were essential in sailing and other activities in the harbor. •While at Bowdoin, Longfellow got an opportunity to go travel to Europe and learn romance languages such as German, French, Spanish, and Italian•After his wife died, he drowned himself in German literature, which opened his eyes to using poetry to express his feelings•He also wrote anti-slavery pieces such as Poems on Slavery which was unusual because most poets at the time did not talk about such topics in their works By: Oliver Wendell Holmes Ropewalk
Connection to Romanticism •The poem talks a lot about nature, such as when Longfellow talks about the ships on the sea, and exalting nature is a characteristic of the Romantic Period
•The poem is also valuing imagination over reason, another characteristic of the Romantic Period. For example, Longfellow says "While within this brain of mine/Cobwebs brighter and more fine/By the busy wheel are spun," which means that a person's imagination develops the more you use your brain
•Longfellow also views nature as a source of inspiration, another common Romantic belief. For example, he compares humans to spider spinning thread, which he makes sound as quite remarkable
•Another romantic characteristic is how Longfellow characterizes youthful innocence as being great, such as with the school-boy flying his kite and the two young girls playing happily on the swing, and characterizes aging as being less appealing, such as when he says the old man in the tower being stuck ringing bells and almost getting lifted up by the ropes of the bells Old Ironsides
Connection to Romanticism •Holmes mentions "harpies of the shore," which is a reference to mythology, and romantic writing used mythology, legends, and folk culture for inspiration
•He also says that nature is all powerful and mighty, such as "her thunders shook the mighty deep/and there should be her grave" when talking about the USS Constitution
-He even goes to the point of pantheism (belief that God is nature) when he says that the ship should be given to the "god of storms"
•He also makes man's society as being evil such as when he describes the ship's deck as being "once red with heroes' blood," meaning that battles on the ship had killed many people Ropewalk
Critisicm •The critical commentary says that Longfellow's writing is known as "looking-glass poetry," and that is true. In "The Ropewalk," Longfellow does use clear imagery when he describes the events such as when he talks about the school boy flying his kite; you can almost imagine the scene as you read it. Longfellow is also described as looking towards nature for answers more than most others, and this is evident even in the poem when he describes the extended metaphor about the human spiders and their cobwebs. Old Ironsides
Critisicm •We agree with what the author of the criticism says about the poem being a form of protest. Holmes writes the piece so that he greatly praises the battle ship and its durability, such as when he commends the ship as being worthy of being given to "the god of storms/ The lightning, and the gale!" However, we do not think that Holmes' uses too common imagery like the author suggests; words such as "battle shout" and "cannon's roar" may not be the most extravagant descriptions, but the simple terminology does convey what Holmes' is trying to suggest. Old Ironsides
Today •. The USS Constitution, or "Old Ironsides," sailed under her own power Sunday for just the second time in some 130 years.
The Constitution set out on Boston Harbor in Massachusetts to commemorate the 200th anniversary of her victory over a British frigate during the War of 1812. The battle earned Constitution her "Old Ironsides" nickname. Is Poetry Dead? The answer to this question really depends on who you ask. Many critics today will answer, yes, poetry is dying due to the many increases in technology and the different genres of music that has been produced. However, we believe that poetry is not dead...yet. Poetry is not dead. Lullabies, rap songs and hymns are all forms of poetry which we find in our daily lives. It is natural for us to search for best rhyming lines on special occasions such as birthdays and valentine's day. The key elements of poetry, patterns and rhythm, are basic to human nature. Hence, poetry is not dead. What is the Value of Poetry? Poetry allows humans to express themselves in a concise manner using repeating patterns in the language. No other form of written expression allows us to capture human thought more beautifully. Poetry brings immense joy to both reader and writer. Hence, it is invaluable.
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