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Discussion in 'Essays' started by Always.Smiling, Jan 3, 2012.



    Always.Smiling New Member

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    This is an essay I wrote for my American Literature class on the poem, "The Tide Rises, the Tide, Falls" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I hope you all enjoy it =) Also tell me what you think about it. Any feedback would be awesome =)

    The Waves of Life

    Is not the beach something that produces a feeling like no other? The sounds of the waves and the feeling of the sand in your feet creates a place that generates many feelings. A poem written by one of the great Fireside Poets in American history captures the sensation of the coast, molding it into an image that covers the qualities of the world and time itself. The Romantic poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls,” creates a mini compact version of the world with its comparisons of time, life, work, humanity, and tomorrow.

    First, in creating a world Henry makes out the sea as time itself. Time is something that constantly continues and never ends, which is a lot like the raging ocean. Four times the poem concludes, “And the tide rises, the tide falls (Longfellow 1, 5, 10, 15).” The constant repetition of this line points to time as something we constantly think about, it’s in everything we do. Ever continuing, the ocean in Longfellow’s poem is a metaphor of time as something that has no end. Together, time, the first piece of creating a world, becomes the never resting ocean.

    Second, in this compact world, humanity is portrayed through the passing traveller. As human beings we are here only for a giving amount of time, a lot like a tourist or a traveller who visits locations only for a short while (Suture). In lines 4, 13, and 14, he quickly leaves as he “hastens toward the town” and “...nevermore / Returns the traveller to the shore (Longfellow 4, 13, 14).” Just as the traveller left and never came back, human beings in this world will also swiftly leave not to return again. In creating a mini world, Longfellow represents humanity as one traveller who only visits for a short while.

    Third, the passing of a single day in this mini world reflects that shortness of life. One day in our life seems like a really small amount of time and passes by quite quickly, that can also be said of our whole life. Over the course of the poem the cycle of one day goes by, “...twilight darkens...” and “...morning breaks...(Longfellow 2, 11).” The twilight of the night points to the returning home of the traveller as his time in the world is now at its end. Just as in our world, the micro world created in the poem also shows life to be just as brief as the departing of a day.

    Next, man’s hard work done in this world is embodied in the writing in the sand. Writing in the sand can create amazing pieces of design and art, but like the works of man only last for so long. “The little waves... / Efface the footprints in the sands (Longfellow 8, 9).” The constant waves of time eventually erase the evidence of the traveller’s presence. This image is even better seen in this quote, “Our memories of the ocean will linger on, long after our footprints in the sand are gone (Beach Quotes).” In this world, man works to make something that lasts, but eventually, time will overcome it and only remain as a memory.

    Lastly, the continuation of time or tomorrow in this compact world is shown in the hostler. Even though everyday many people leave this world, time and tomorrow still carry on. After the night of the travellers departing, still “The morning breaks... / ...as the hostler calls (Longfellow 11, 12).” A new day is begun, and daily life continues as the hostler repeats his daily routine. Like in this world, the future is something that can’t be stopped, as it continues, “...the tide rises, the tide falls.”
    To conclude, the symbolism in “The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls” produces a whole world in one poem. First, the ocean is compared to time as it never rests. As well, the traveller represents humanity who is just visiting for a moment before moving on. Third, the quickness of life is represented by the passing of one whole day. Next, man’s work is shown by the washing of sand which that once gone, still only exists in memory. Lastly, calling out for his horses, the hostler shows that tomorrow continues and time moves on. An unknown person also spoke of how about the wonders of the ocean, “Eternity begins and ends with the ocean's tides (Beach Quotes).” The world and time, even in the enormous qualities it has, all can simply be portrayed in a seaside scene.


    Works Cited List
    Anonymous. "Beach Quotes." Beach Therapy. Web. 3 Nov. 2011. <ht tp ://ww w.beach-therapy.c om/beach-quotes.html>.
    Longfellow, Henry W. "The Tides Rises, the Tide Falls." Elements of Literature: Literature of the United States, with Literature of the Americas. By Robert E. Probst. Austin: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2000. 177. Print.
    Suture. "The Tide Rises Analysis." DeviantART. 27 Dec. 2002. Web. 3 Nov. 2011. <ht tp ://suture.deviantart.c om/art/The-Tide-Rises-Analysis-1074777>.
    Unknown. "Beach Quotes." Beach Therapy. Web. 3 Nov. 2011. <ht tp ://ww w.beach-therapy.c om/beach-quotes.html>.

  1. Angelic

    rachels New Member

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    It's a good essay but I would emphasize your thesis more in the introduction


    Posted By rachels | Sep 19, 2017
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