Analysis of Henry Longfellow's Poems
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: Style
Henry Longfellow uses many different styles of writing, such as free-verse. He wrote many poems about his family and current events that inspired him, like the Wreck of Hesperus. Longfellow wrote a few poems about the loss of his wife and daughter. He uses foreshadowing in many of his poems to give the reader hints about how the story ends.
Theme: In 1839, Henry Longfellow found out about a shipwreck off of Norman’s Reef in Massachusetts. Many bodies had washed ashore with the remains of the ship, called the Hesperus. Longfellow was intrigued by the story and decided to write a poem about it. I think the theme of this poem is about pride and to listen to your elders. The young captain believed he could face the fierce storm, even though the experienced sailor warned him not to. In the end, it cost him his ship and many lives.
Literary Devices: There are many literary devices, such as foreshadowing and similes. Foreshadowing occurred in the poem when the old sailor warned the captain of the hurricane. The author used similes to better describe the daughter, ship, and storm. The author used the simile, "She shuddered and paused, like a frighted steed," to tell the reader that the ship was shaking and moving slowly, as if she was afraid to move on.
The Wreck of the Hesperus
Theme: I think this poem is about the circle of life and excepting the death of those you love. The author trys to explain that Death really isn't cruel, but it is kind because it takes people to the fields of light above. Longfellow was very familer with loss and death, and I think that is why he wrote this poem.
Literary Devices: The author uses a metaphor when he describes children as flowers. Also, the last word in each line rhymes with the next alternating line:
There is a Reaper, whose name is Death,
And, with his sickle keen,
He reaps the bearded grain at a breath,
And the flowers that grow between.
The Reaper and the Flowers
Analysis: I think this poem describes Death as an Angel that needs to be excepted. Longfellow uses flowers to represent children that are taken by the Reaper. In the poem, Death has to explain to the mothers of the "flowers" that they will see each other again in the "fields of light". The Reaper is sad to take the children away from their tearful mothers, but tells them that his Lord is in need of the children because they are dear tokens of earth. "He gazed at the flowers with tearful eyes, He kissed their drooping leaves; It was for the Lord of Paradise, He bound them in his sheaves." Death didn't come in cruelty or wrath, but as an angel sent by God to take the flowers away.
The Reaper and the Flowers