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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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on 7 March 2014

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Transcript of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Style
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow uses quite a few styles of writing in his poems. He likes to contrast his poems' themes. Sometimes, he will write a dark depressing poem like "A Shadow", and other times he will write happy joyful poems like "The Children's Hour". However all these poems do have a lot in common. He uses metaphors and similes very often, and in all of the poems that I analyzed, he used rhymes. Longfellow mainly writes about his morals and loved ones. He writes fairly formal, and makes sure every word has its own importance.
Wreck of the Hesperus
Theme
: Longfellow was inspired to write this poem after he found out about a shipwreck in 1839 off of Norman's Reef on Massachusetts. The ship was called the Hesperus. I personally think the theme of this poem is pride and to listen to those more experienced than you. I think this because in the story the captain was to proud to listen to his experienced deckhand, who believed a hurricane was coming. This resulted in the captain losing his life.
A Shadow
Theme
: I think the theme of this poem is how parents become worried about what will happen to their children once they are no longer fit to look after the kids. They could become unfit by dieing or by just being to old to function. Henry's reasoning is that he taught them everything and guided them through all of their dilemmas. He is doubtful that they won't be able to last because they will have no one for guidance and help.
The Builders
Theme
: The theme of "The Builders" is that each person constructs their own fate. Fate is built with time. Each day is a building block. Longfellow's main point in this poem is every person's fate should be fit for the Gods. The fate should be a place that the Gods can dwell in, for they are the only ones who can judge your creation.
The Children's Hour
Theme
: "The Children's Hour is a very happy poem. The theme is the about how much Longfellow loves his daughters and how he dedicates his life to them. He says in the poem that he sets aside one hour each day to play with his children. Hence the name "Children's Hour". It shows the pure happiness that radiates from the family. Henry uses his daughters real names in this poem to emphasize how true and important it is.
The Reaper and the Flowers
Theme
: In my mind the theme of this poem is that death is not all as bad as we portray it to be. When a loved one dies they are taken to the fields of light above. "They shall all bloom in fields of light" There they are at peace. We give death a bad name when really it is just the circle of life.
Wreck of The Hesperus
Literary Devices
: Longfellow used many literary devices in this poem. The most used literary device was a simile. A few examples of these similes are " And the billows frothed like yeast." and "Blue were her eyes as the fairy-flax,". Another literary device used in this poem was foreshadowing. The fore shadowing occurred when the deckhand told the captain that a hurricane was coming. "Then up and spake an old Sailòr, Had sailed to the Spanish Main, 'I pray thee, put into yonder port, For I fear a hurricane.'" Henry also uses rhymes in the 2nd and 4th line in every stanza.
Wreck of the Hesperus
Analysis
: A captain takes his daughter to sail with him. A very experienced and old sailor told the captain that they should put the boat in the harbor because a hurricane was coming. "I pray thee, put into yonder port, For I fear a hurricane." However, the captain was to proud to listen to this wise sailor and he sailed on. Soon enough, the boat was being pounded by the waves, and being tossed around by the wind. "She shuddered and paused, like a frighted steed,". The captain continued to act like it wasn't anything he couldn't handle "And do not tremble so; For I can weather the roughest gale That ever wind did blow." To make sure his daughter would not be swept over board the captain tied her to the mast. The crew and captain were swept into the sea."And a whooping billow swept the crew Like icicles from her deck." "Then the maiden clasped her hands and prayed That savèd she might be;" Her prayers went unheard, the mast snapped, she was thrown into the water and found the next morning still tied to the post. Even though Longfellow doesn't directly state that she died it is believed by many that she did. "Christ save us all from a death like this, On the reef of Norman's Woe!" Longfellow prays that no one will ever have to suffer a death like that.
A Shadow
Literary Devices
: In the poem "A Shadow" only a few literary devices are used, but they are very powerful. Longfellow uses an extended metaphor to describe his children's lives as a chapter book. "Their lives, I said, Would be a volume wherein I have read But the first chapters," That quote from the poem is also an example of rhyming with the words "said" and "read". Rhyming like that is used throughout the numerous stanzas.
A Shadow
Analysis
: This poem is about the Longfellow's growing worries of his children's fate. Longfellow had six children that he cared for deeply, so that just shows how worried he would be about them having no one to guide them. The poem starts out with the quote "I said unto myself, if I were dead, What would befall these children? What would be Their fate, who now are looking up to me For help and furtherance?" This phrase is telling us that Longfellow has doubts about what will happen to his children when he dies. Who will look after them? Who will teach them? Who will guide them in times of need? These are all questions that pop up through out this poem. He also talks about how sad it is that he will only live long enough to see how their lives start, but he will never know what their lives will turn out to be. Towards the end of the poem Henry starts to reassure himself that thousands of generations have had to go through the same problems that his children will have to face. "They will find hope and strength as we have done."
The Builders
Literary Devices
: "The Builders" is made unique because of its literary devices. The whole writing is in itself an extended metaphor. There are also a few regular metaphors in the poem. "Our to-days and yesterdays Are the blocks with which we build." Longfellow also rhymed the last word of the second line and the last word of the fourth line in each stanza.
The Builders
Analysis
: This poem starts out with its main point "All are architects of Fate,". It is saying that we build our own fate. Time is the material and days are the building blocks. "Our to-days and yesterdays Are the blocks with which we build." Everyone's fate is worth something. "Nothing useless is, or low" If someone's structure seems unimportant that only means it supports everyone else. "And what seems but idle show Strengthens and supports the rest" Longfellow also says that yous should make your structure as beautiful as possible. Don't think that no one will see it because the fates that no one sees are built for the Gods, for they see everything unseen. "Make the house, where Gods may dwell, Beautiful, entire, and clean" If you don't make your house fit for the gods than your life has no point. You will be stuck in the walls of time forever. "Else our lives are incomplete, Standing in these walls of Time,"
The Children's Hour
Literary Devices
: Imagery, rhyming, and metaphors are used often in this poem. Henry uses imagery to paint the image of how cheerful his daughters are in the readers mind. "The patter of little feet, The sound of a door that is opened, And voices soft and sweet." Just like in most of his poems Longfellow rhymes the last words of the second and fourth line in every stanza. Metaphors are used in many places in the poem. They show how Longfellow really enjoys playing with his children. " They enter my castle wall!
They climb up into my turret"
The Children's Hour
Analysis
: Longfellow sits in his study everyday for work, but every evening there is a time when he stops to play with his children. "Comes a pause in the day's occupations, That is known as the Children's Hour." He hears his daughters coming to attack him, even though they try to be sneaky about it. "A whisper, and then a silence: Yet I know by their merry eyes They are plotting and planning together To take me by surprise." Then all of a sudden they come and attack him. Longfellow refers to his study as a castle and the chair in which he is sitting in a turret. "They climb up into my turret O'er the arms and back of my chair;" That metaphor shows how open-hearted he is to play their game. "Because you have scaled the wall, Such an old mustache as I am, Is not a match for you all!" In that stanza he is agreeing to take part in the role of a villain. "I have you fast in my fortress. And will not let you depart, But put you down into the dungeon In the round-tower of my heart." This stanza is pure love. He will never let go of them. Henry had already lost his wife and a daughter, so he refuses to put them in danger.
The Reaper and the Flowers
Literary

Devices
: The author uses imagery and extended metaphors. When the reaper is described imagery is at play. "And, with his sickle keen, He reaps the bearded grain at a breath," Extended metaphors are used to describe the children as flowers. "Though the breath of these flowers is sweet to me," Rhymes are also used frequently in this poem. The last word of each line rhymes with the next alternating line.

The Reaper and the Flowers
Analysis
: This poem describes that Death is an Angel that is just misjudged by us, and that we need to learn to except Death. The Reaper takes away flowers in this poem, but the flowers are truly children that are needed by God. The Reaper has to take the children from weeping mothers, but explains that they will see each other again in heaven. He is sad about this terrible act. "He gazed at the flowers with tearful eye, He kissed their drooping leaves;" However, he knows that they will be taken to a better place. "They shall all bloom in fields of light," The Reaper tells the mothers not to be sad for it is God that needs them as tokens of Earth. "My Lord has need of these floweretsgay, The Reaper said, and smiled: Dear tokens of the earth are they, " The Reaper was not there for cruelty or wrath but was an angel sent to take the flowers to a better place. "O, not in cruelty, not in wrath, The Reaper came that day; 'Twas an angel visited the green earth, And took the flowers away."
Life's Affect
Wreck of the Hesperus
: Longfellow was very interested in the shipwreck in 1839. He thought there was an act of God behind it. Longfellow thought that God was punishing the captain for not listening and being too proud. He believed this because he was very religious.
A Shadow
: Longfellow was a very loving father. He was very attached to his children and the main idea of this poem probably passed through his mind very often.
The Builders
: Once again in this poem Henry's religion is at play. He believed that our lives should be dedicated to God, and that is what he wrote about. Building up your fate so it is suited for God.
The Children's Hour
: You can say that Longfellow was a "family man". He loved his family beyond measure. This poem shows that he stopped working to play with his daughters. He did not care about his dignity and manly appearance because his imagination was just as wild as his daughters.
The Reaper and the Flowers
: Longfellow was very familiar with the death of loved ones. He had lost a daughter and his wife when he wrote this. This poem showed his perspective on where his loved ones went.
The Children's Hour
Literary Devices
: Imagery, rhyming, and metaphors are used often in this poem. Henry uses imagery to paint the image of how cheerful his daughters are in the readers mind. "The patter of little feet, The sound of a door that is opened, And voices soft and sweet." Just like in most of his poems Longfellow rhymes the last words of the second and fourth line in every stanza. Metaphors are used in many places in the poem. They show how Longfellow really enjoys playing with his children. " They enter my castle wall!
They climb up into my turret"
The Children's Hour
Analysis
: Longfellow sits in his study everyday for work, but every evening there is a time when he stops to play with his children. "Comes a pause in the day's occupations, That is known as the Children's Hour." He hears his daughters coming to attack him, even though they try to be sneaky about it. "A whisper, and then a silence: Yet I know by their merry eyes They are plotting and planning together To take me by surprise." Then all of a sudden they come and attack him. Longfellow refers to his study as a castle and the chair in which he is sitting in a turret. "They climb up into my turret O'er the arms and back of my chair;" That metaphor shows how open-hearted he is to play their game. "Because you have scaled the wall, Such an old mustache as I am, Is not a match for you all!" In that stanza he is agreeing to take part in the role of a villain. "I have you fast in my fortress. And will not let you depart, But put you down into the dungeon In the round-tower of my heart." This stanza is pure love. He will never let go of them. Henry had already lost his wife and a daughter, so he refuses to put them in danger.
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