The Wreck Of The Hesperus English Literature Essay

775 words (3 pages) Essay

1st Jan 1970 English Literature Reference this

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was considered one of America’s famous and loved poets of his day. He was born on February 27, 1807 in Portland, Maine. He had an interest in literature at an early age. Longfellow attended college to study literature and modern languages against his father’s wishes who wanted him to study law. He graduated from Bowdoin College in 1825, where he accepted a position as the first professor of modern languages, with the understanding he study French and Spanish. After a three year trip to Europe were he studied, he returned to Bowdoin in 1829 to begin teaching. He also created his own French, Italian and Spanish textbooks while at Bowdoin because there were not any books available (Lauter 2966).

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In 1831, Longfellow married Mary Potter. A few years later, he and his wife went to Europe so he could prepare of a position as a professor at Harvard University. However, his wife died while there and he returned alone to America. In 1841, he married Frances Appleton after a long courtship and they had six children. They had a happy marriage. However, he wanted to become serious about his writing so in 1854 he resigned from Harvard. After leaving Harvard, he wrote some of his most popular poems. Sadly, his wife Frances died in 1861 due to serious burns she had received from her dress caught on fire in an accident. Longfellow also received serious burns trying to save her. After this Longfellow always wore a beard probably to cover the scars from the burns (Lauter 2966).

As well as a poet, Longfellow also published textbooks, literary essays and translations of European poets. He is known for introducing European culture to American readers in his day and to gain international fame for his poetry (Henry 1).

Longfellow enlarged America audiences for poetry than ever before. He wrote about different cultures and people in a creative way to entertain people. He deepened our sense of America’s past in his poems (Eberwein 9). He created myths and heroes to help America’s identify with each other. His works were enjoyed by large audiences from all social classes and age groups (Gioia 1).

The Wreck of the Hesperus

This poem is about a shipwreck and how pride and stubbornness can cause a fatal outcome. The boat is a schooner and it is winter. There is a captain and his young daughter on board. The daughter is described as warmth and new life. A seasoned sailor advises the captain to take the schooner to a nearby port because it looks like a hurricane is coming. The captain laughs at the sailors warning. The storm becomes very bad with cold winds and heavy snow. The captain tells his daughter not to be afraid that he can bet the storm. He then puts his coat on her and ties her to the mast. The girl then begins to hear church bells and gunshots. Her father tells her these sounds are from the lighthouse and another ship. The girl asked her father about a light she sees, however her father does not answer because he has frozen to death. The girl begins to pray for the waters to calm. The schooner wrecks against the rocks and sinks. A fisherman finds the wrecked schooner and sees the girl still tied to the mast floating in the waves. She is also covered with ice from the storm.

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The Cross of Snow This poem is about Longfellow’s wife who died after her dress caught on fire. He describes the cross on the mountain as defying the sun and it will never go away. This is like the cross he wears on his chest meaning the love he has in his heart for his wife. This love has not changed after eighteen years of losing her despite the fact that life has continued to change.

I did not realize that he was such an educated man and had knowledge of several different languages. I also found it interesting that after losing two wives he still persuade his writing. I also didn’t know that he was responsible for many of the stories I was taught in school at a young age. I can see why he was so popular in his time because he could relate to the average person when writing.

Longfellow created an American literature based on foreign models. He used European methods of storytelling and told in verse narrative poems dealing with American history (American Renaissance).

Longfellow was the first of American writer to use native themes in his poems. He wrote on themes that appealed to all people. His poems are easily understood and have easy rhyme. They have joy in them, a spirit of hope and faith in the goodness of life (Shepard liii).

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was considered one of America’s famous and loved poets of his day. He was born on February 27, 1807 in Portland, Maine. He had an interest in literature at an early age. Longfellow attended college to study literature and modern languages against his father’s wishes who wanted him to study law. He graduated from Bowdoin College in 1825, where he accepted a position as the first professor of modern languages, with the understanding he study French and Spanish. After a three year trip to Europe were he studied, he returned to Bowdoin in 1829 to begin teaching. He also created his own French, Italian and Spanish textbooks while at Bowdoin because there were not any books available (Lauter 2966).

In 1831, Longfellow married Mary Potter. A few years later, he and his wife went to Europe so he could prepare of a position as a professor at Harvard University. However, his wife died while there and he returned alone to America. In 1841, he married Frances Appleton after a long courtship and they had six children. They had a happy marriage. However, he wanted to become serious about his writing so in 1854 he resigned from Harvard. After leaving Harvard, he wrote some of his most popular poems. Sadly, his wife Frances died in 1861 due to serious burns she had received from her dress caught on fire in an accident. Longfellow also received serious burns trying to save her. After this Longfellow always wore a beard probably to cover the scars from the burns (Lauter 2966).

As well as a poet, Longfellow also published textbooks, literary essays and translations of European poets. He is known for introducing European culture to American readers in his day and to gain international fame for his poetry (Henry 1).

Longfellow enlarged America audiences for poetry than ever before. He wrote about different cultures and people in a creative way to entertain people. He deepened our sense of America’s past in his poems (Eberwein 9). He created myths and heroes to help America’s identify with each other. His works were enjoyed by large audiences from all social classes and age groups (Gioia 1).

The Wreck of the Hesperus

This poem is about a shipwreck and how pride and stubbornness can cause a fatal outcome. The boat is a schooner and it is winter. There is a captain and his young daughter on board. The daughter is described as warmth and new life. A seasoned sailor advises the captain to take the schooner to a nearby port because it looks like a hurricane is coming. The captain laughs at the sailors warning. The storm becomes very bad with cold winds and heavy snow. The captain tells his daughter not to be afraid that he can bet the storm. He then puts his coat on her and ties her to the mast. The girl then begins to hear church bells and gunshots. Her father tells her these sounds are from the lighthouse and another ship. The girl asked her father about a light she sees, however her father does not answer because he has frozen to death. The girl begins to pray for the waters to calm. The schooner wrecks against the rocks and sinks. A fisherman finds the wrecked schooner and sees the girl still tied to the mast floating in the waves. She is also covered with ice from the storm.

The Cross of Snow This poem is about Longfellow’s wife who died after her dress caught on fire. He describes the cross on the mountain as defying the sun and it will never go away. This is like the cross he wears on his chest meaning the love he has in his heart for his wife. This love has not changed after eighteen years of losing her despite the fact that life has continued to change.

I did not realize that he was such an educated man and had knowledge of several different languages. I also found it interesting that after losing two wives he still persuade his writing. I also didn’t know that he was responsible for many of the stories I was taught in school at a young age. I can see why he was so popular in his time because he could relate to the average person when writing.

Longfellow created an American literature based on foreign models. He used European methods of storytelling and told in verse narrative poems dealing with American history (American Renaissance).

Longfellow was the first of American writer to use native themes in his poems. He wrote on themes that appealed to all people. His poems are easily understood and have easy rhyme. They have joy in them, a spirit of hope and faith in the goodness of life (Shepard liii).

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