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Song of Hiawatha Poem Analysis: Indian Theme

Speak about Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Excitement of an Indian Theme

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was an American poet whose immaculate works raised interesting points of modernism and survival. Throughout his entire writing career, Longfellow infused spiritual rituals of Native Indian ideologies with seemingly progressive nuances concerning rites of passage and human consciousness. Mr. Longfellow utilized the natural and instinctively wise attributes of the former Native Indians to highlight the distinction of development from rustic living to influential classism.

The rhythmic stanzas of The Indian Hunter describe dedicated patience that Longfellow suggests the readers should possess, but only in the most developmental ways:

An Indian hunter, with an unstrung bow,
Looked down where the valley lay stretched below.
He was a stranger there, and all that day
Had been out on the hills, a perilous way…

Longfellow used the Native Indian’s revered nature as a portal of steadfastness that only worked during their appointed eras. Writing to his readers the importance of patience and willfulness was not the main point of penmanship. A hunter waiting for the perfect moment to catch his prey, knowingly in a dry land of game, but afraid to seek further because of his stranger characteristics, is a contradiction to the title itself. An Indian is known to have instinctive wise attributes, but yet he awaits for something that will never come; unless he chooses to change direction. Longfellow understood that his readers were in a detrimental state of needing proper progression, but he also understood that they were looking in all the wrong places “seek and ye shall find.”

After the sudden death of his first wife, Mary Storer Potter, Longfellow began scribing poetry that reflected his love lost, while also encouraging readers to “be not like dumb, driven cattle…trust no Future” (A Psalm of Life, 1838). Oftentimes he used his personal philosophies concerning life and death to consciously awaken the minds of those who overlooked the bearers of these troubles.

During a period where advancement towards the democratic Republics was prominent, Longfellow’s nostalgically respectful tone in regards to the Indian culture was without a doubt most insightful, but it not only presented subjective moments of courage and doctrine but also simplified the art of existence during a not so simple period.

Works Cited

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. “The Indian Hunter.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow [online resource], Maine Historical Society, Accessed May 30, 2013. http://www.hwlongfellow.org

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. “A Psalm of Life.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow [online resource], Maine Historical Society, Accessed May 30, 2013. http://www.hwlongfellow.org

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