The Wreck of the Hesperus (1840)

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The Wreck Of The Hesperus
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The Wreck Of The Hesperus
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Starter
Look at the picture of the
sailing ship.
Imagine you are on this ship
and write down what you think
you would hear, see and feel as
this ship set sail from port.
The Wreck Of The Hesperus
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Starter
Look at the picture of the
sailing ship.
Imagine you are on this ship
and write down what you
think you would hear, see and
feel as this ship set sail from
port.
Now write down what you think it would be like to be on this ship as it
sails into a violent storm.
The Wreck Of The Hesperus
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Learning Objectives
As we study this poem you will learn:
• the story of the poem and its
history
• be introduced to the terms
Structure: Stanza: Line Length:
Narrative: Simile: Rhyme &
Internal Rhyme: Tone
• and how to read out one
stanza to the class.
You will also complete some Mini Tasks and :
1. a written assignments of 400-600 words
2. a quiz on the poem to be completed in class.
Common Core Standards Objectives - 1
In these lessons we will continue learning how to:
• Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says.
(Quote!) [CC.11-12.R.L.1]
• Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze it in detail.
[CC.9-10.R.L.2]
• Provide an objective summary of the text. [CC.9-10.R.L.2]
• Analyze how complex characters interact with others and advance the
plot or develop the theme over the course of a text. [CC.9-10.R.L.3]
• Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the
text. [CC.9-10.R.L.4 ]
• Analyze how structure contributes to the overall meaning and
aesthetic impact of the work. [CC.11-12.R.L.5]
• Analyze a text to determine symbolism, irony, metaphor and subtext.
[CC.11-12.R.L.6]
Common Core Standards Objectives - 2
In these lessons we will continue learning how to:
• Read closely to determine what the text says and make logical
inferences from it citing specific textual evidence to support
conclusions drawn from the text. [CC.K-12.R.R.1]
• Determine central ideas or themes of a text analyzing and
summarising their development. [CC.K-12.R.R.2]
• Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and
interact over the course of a text. [CC.K-12.R.R.3]
• Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text and analyze
how specific word choices shape meaning or tone. [CC.K-12.R.R.4]
• Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences,
paragraphs, and larger portions of the text relate to each other and
to the whole. [CC.K-12.R.R.5]
• Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style
of a text. [CC.K-12.R.R.6]
Common Core Standards Objectives - 3
In Writing the assignment on this poem we will:
• Write a clear and precise narrative which develops real or imagined experiences
or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event
sequences. [CC.9-10.W.3 & CC.9-10.W.4 ]
• Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or
observation, establishing one or multiple points of view, and
introducing a narrator and/or characters to create a smooth
progression of experiences or events. [CC.9-10.W.3.a]
• Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description,
reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events,
and/or characters which form a coherent whole.
[CC.9-10.W.3.b & CC.9-10.W.3.c]
• Use precise words and phrases, details, and sensory language to
convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and
characters. [CC.9-10.W.3.d]
• Provide a conclusion that reflects on what is experienced, observed,
or resolved over the course of the narrative. [CC.9-10.W.3.e]
• Develop and strengthen writing by planning, revising, editing,
rewriting, to focus on addressing what is most significant for a specific
purpose and audience. [CC.9-10.W.5]
Common Core Standards Objectives - 4
In Writing the assignment on this poem we will:
• Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and
usage when writing or speaking. [CC.11-12.L.1 & CC.11-12.L.1.a]
• Use reference resources such as dictionaries to resolve issues of punctuation &
usage. [CC.11-12.L.1.b, CC.11-12.L.4.c CC.11-12.L.4.d]
• Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization,
punctuation, hyphenation, and spelling when writing.
[CC.11-12.L.2, CC.11-12.L.2.a & CC.11-12.L.2.b]
• Apply knowledge of language to vary syntax for effect and to help understand
how language functions in different contexts. [CC.11-12.L.3 & CC.11-12.L.3.a]
• Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown words and phrases. [CC.11-12.L.4]
• Use context as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase. [CC.11-12.L.4.a]
• Identify and correctly use patterns of word changes that indicate different
meanings or parts of speech. [CC.11-12.L.4.b]
• Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and
nuances in word meanings. [CC.11-12.L.5]
• Interpret figures of speech (e.g., hyperbole, paradox) in context and
analyze their role in the text. [CC.11-12.L.5.a]
The Wreck of the Hesperus
It was the schooner Hesperus,
That sailed the wintry sea;
And the skipper had taken his little daughter,
To bear him company.
Blue were her eyes as the fairy-flax,
Her cheeks like the dawn of day,
And her bosom white as the hawthorn buds,
That ope in the month of May.
The skipper he stood beside the helm,
His pipe was in his mouth,
And he watched how the veering flaw did blow
The smoke now West, now South.
Then up and spake an old Sailor,
Had sailed to the Spanish Main,
"I pray thee, put into yonder port,
For I fear a hurricane.
"Last night, the moon had a golden ring,
And to-night no moon we see!"
The skipper, he blew a whiff from his pipe,
And a scornful laugh laughed he.
Colder and louder blew the wind,
A gale from the Northeast,
The snow fell hissing in the brine,
And the billows frothed like yeast.
Down came the storm, and smote again
The vessel in its strength;
She shuddered and paused, like a frighted steed,
Then leaped her cable's length.
"Come hither! come hither! my little daughter,
And do not tremble so;
For I can weather the roughest gale
That ever wind did blow."
He wrapped her warm in his seaman's coat
Against the stinging blast;
He cut a rope from a broken spar,
And bound her to the mast.
"O father! I hear the church-bells ring,
Oh say, what may it be?"
"'T is a fog-bell on a rock-bound coast!"
And he steered for the open sea.
"O father! I hear the sound of guns,
Oh say, what may it be?"
"Some ship in distress, that cannot live
In such an angry sea!"
"O father! I see a gleaming light,
Oh say, what may it be?"
But the father answered never a word,
A frozen corpse was he.
She struck where the white and fleecy waves
Looked soft as carded wool,
But the cruel rocks, they gored her side
Like the horns of an angry bull.
Lashed to the helm, all stiff and stark,
With his face turned to the skies,
The lantern gleamed through the gleaming snow
On his fixed and glassy eyes.
Her rattling shrouds, all sheathed in ice,
With the masts went by the board;
Like a vessel of glass, she stove and sank,
Ho! ho! the breakers roared!
And fast through the midnight dark and drear,
Through the whistling sleet and snow,
Like a sheeted ghost, the vessel swept
Tow'rds the reef of Norman's Woe.
At daybreak, on the bleak sea-beach,
A fisherman stood aghast,
To see the form of a maiden fair,
Lashed close to a drifting mast.
And ever the fitful gusts between
A sound came from the land;
It was the sound of the trampling surf
On the rocks and the hard sea-sand.
The salt sea was frozen on her breast,
The salt tears in her eyes;
And he saw her hair, like the brown sea-weed,
On the billows fall and rise.
The breakers were right beneath her bows,
She drifted a dreary wreck,
And a whooping billow swept the crew
Like icicles from her deck.
Such was the wreck of the Hesperus,
In the midnight and the snow!
God save us all from a death like this,
On the reef of Norman's Woe!
The Story Of The Poem
Most poems have an idea or ‘story’ that the poet wants to tell his reader.
Mini Task 1
In 100-150 words write down what you think is
the story of The Wreck of the Hesperus.
Hint: Look at 2 or 3 stanzas and try to sum up
what happens in them.
Toolbox Term: A stanza is a series of lines in
a poem that are grouped together. The
first stanza of this poem is:
It was the schooner Hesperus,
That sailed the wintry sea;
And the skipper had taken his little daughter,
To bear him company.
The Story Of The Poem
• The Wreck of the Hesperus is a story that presents
the tragic consequences of a sea captain's pride. On
an ill-fated voyage in the winter, he took his daughter
aboard ship for company. Disaster came when the
captain ignored the advice of one of his experienced
men, who feared that a hurricane was approaching.
• When the hurricane arrives, he ties his daughter to
the mast to prevent her from being washed
overboard. He then wraps her in his waterproof coat
and slowly starts to freeze to death. The daughter
calls out to her father as she hears the surf beating
on the shore, but it is too late as he is dead.
• The crew are all washed overboard and the ship
crashes onto the reef of Norman's Woe and sinks.
The next morning a horrified fisherman finds the
daughter's body, still tied to the mast, drifting in the
surf.
• The poem ends with a prayer that we all be spared
such a fate "on the reef of Norman's Woe."
The Origin Of The Poem -1
Longfellow combined fact and
fancy to create this, one of his bestknown, most macabre, and most
enduring poems. His inspiration was
a great storm, which ravaged the
northeast coast of the United
States, January 6 1839. The storm
raged for 12 hours and destroyed
20 ships with a loss of 40 lives.
He probably drew specifically on
the destruction of the Favorite on
the reef of Norman's Woe, located
off the coast of Gloucester,
Massachusetts. As a result of the
storm all the crew of the Favorite
were killed, one of whom was a
woman, probably the captains wife,
who reportedly floated to shore
dead, but still tied to the mast.
The Origin Of The Poem - 2
After the disaster, Longfellow wrote in his
journal:
News of shipwrecks horrible, on the
coast. Forty bodies washed ashore
near Gloucester, one lashed to a piece
of the wreck. There is a reef called
Norman's Woe, where many of these
took place; among others the
schooner Hesperus.
But in the confusion of the disaster the
early reports in the newspapers were not
completely accurate and the Hesperus
had not been wrecked on Norman’s Woe,
but near Boston Harbour.
Mini Task 2
List 5 facts or real events which formed the basis for this poem.
The Origin Of The Poem – Mini Task 2
List 5 facts or real events which formed the basis for this poem.
1. There was a great storm in January 1839.
2. The storm raged for 12 hours and destroyed 20 ships with a loss
of 40 lives.
3. Longfellow’s journal notes ‘Forty bodies washed ashore near
Gloucester, one lashed to a piece of the wreck.’
4. A ship called the Favorite was wrecked on the reef of Norman's
Woe, not the Hesperus as Longfellow noted.
5. The Hesperus had not been wrecked on Norman’s Woe, but near
Boston Harbour.
6. It was probably the Favorite’s captain’s wife, who floated to
shore dead, but still tied to the mast.
Oral Task: You will be allocated one Stanza to read out loud to the class.
1. Look at your Stanza , identify any words you don’t know or are not
sure how to pronounce and ask for help pronouncing them.
2. Practice reading your stanza aloud to get pace, pronunciation and
rhythm right.
Form & Genre
Form tells us about the shape of the writing. Genre tells us much more
about the content of the writing.
This poem sets out to tell a story so it is a Narrative poem and it tells
the story of an imagined nautical disaster that is loosely based on real
events. However Longfellow has changed some of the real historical
events so that he can create a more dramatic poem.
Mini Task 3
List 3 important changes that Longfellow made to historical events
when he wrote this poem.
Form & Genre
Mini Task 3
List the 3 important changes that Longfellow made to historical events
when he wrote this poem.
1. It was the Favorite that was wrecked on Norman’ Woe, not the
Hesperus.
2. The Hesperus had not been wrecked on Norman’s Woe, but near
Boston Harbour.
3. It was a woman who floated ashore tied to the mast, not a child.
Mini Task 4
Why did Longfellow make these changes?
Form & Genre
Mini Task 4
Why did Longfellow make these changes?
This is a narrative poem and attempts to tell a story. Longfellow
wanted to make the story dramatic and memorable so he turned the
woman who drowned tied to the mast into an innocent young girl who
completely trusts her father. He then made the Captain an arrogant
man who is so confident in his abilities as a sailor that he is prepare to
risk his ship, his own life, the life of his crew and of his daughter in the
certainty that he
….can weather the roughest gale
That ever wind did blow.
The Structure Of The Poem – 1
Mini Task 5
How is the poem structured?
Toolbox Term:
Structure is:
the relationship or organization of theecomponent parts of a
work of art or literature.
•
The Structure Of The Poem – 1
Mini Task 5
How is the poem structured?
The poem is composed of 21 four-line stanzas in which the second and
fourth lines of each rhyme, ie. each stanza contains a single Alternate
Rhyming Couplet.
Toolbox Terms:
• Rhyme: where endings of words at the end of lines in a poem have
similar sounds.
• Couplet: Two adjacent lines that rhyme.
• Alternate Rhyming Couplet: Two lines that rhyme that have an unrhymed line between them.
Ex. It was the schooner Hesperus,
That sailed the wintry sea;
And the skipper had taken his little daughter,
To bear him company.
The Structure Of The Poem – 2
Line Length
Line Length: is the number of syllables (not words) in a line.
Mini Task 6
• Count the length of the lines in Stanza 1 and write down you answer
at the end of each line.
It was the schooner Hesperus,
That sailed the wintry sea;
And the skipper had taken his little daughter,
To bear him company.
• What do you notice about the answer you got ?
• What effect does this structure have on the poem?
The Structure Of The Poem – 2 : Line Length
Mini Task 6
The length of the lines in this stanza are:
It : was : the : schoon : er : Hes : per : us, (8)
That : sailed : the : wint : ry : sea; (6)
And : the : skipp : er : had : ta : ken : his : litt :le : daugh : ter, (12)
To : bear : him : com : pan : y. (6)
• The lines that contain the rhyme are 6 syllables long (each rhyming
line in the poem is nearly always the same length) but the
unrhymed lines vary in length from about 8-12 syllables.
• The formal rhyme scheme with its even line length on rhymed lines
gives this poem a strong rhythm.
Toolbox Terms
• Line Length: the number of syllables in a line.
• Rhythm: a strong pattern of sounds that is evident in a poem.
Mini Task 6a
Now count the line length for the Stanza you were given to read aloud.
The Structure Of The Poem - Similes
The poem relies a great deal on Similes to create a strong sense of
place and character.
Mini Task 7
Look at the stanzas below and identify the similes used in them.
Blue were her eyes as the fairy-flax,
Her cheeks like the dawn of day,
And her bosom white as the hawthorn buds,
That ope in the month of May.
She struck where the white and fleecy waves
Looked soft as carded wool,
But the cruel rocks, they gored her side
Like the horns of an angry bull.
Toolbox Terms
• Simile: where an object or a person is compared to a similar object
often with the word ‘as’ or ‘like’
The Structure Of The Poem - Similes
The poem relies a great deal on Similes to create a strong sense of
place and character.
Mini Task 7
Look at the stanzas below and identify the similes used in them.
Blue were her eyes as the fairy-flax,
Her cheeks like the dawn of day,
And her bosom white as the hawthorn buds,
That ope in the month of May.
She struck where the white and fleecy waves
Looked soft as carded wool,
But the cruel rocks, they gored her side
Like the horns of an angry bull.
Toolbox Terms
• Simile: where an object or a person is compared to a similar object
often with the word ‘as’ or ‘like’
Mini Task 7a
Now identify any similes in the Stanza you were given to read aloud.
The Structure Of The Poem - Alliteration
Mini Task 8
Look at the stanzas below and identify the alliteration used in them.
Blue were her eyes as the fairy-flax,
Her cheeks like the dawn of day,
And her bosom white as the hawthorn buds,
That ope in the month of May.
She struck where the white and fleecy waves
Looked soft as carded wool,
But the cruel rocks, they gored her side
Like the horns of an angry bull.
Note: ‘ope’ is short for ‘open’. Word shortening is often used by poets
as a way of making sure a line has the right number of syllables.
Toolbox Terms
• Alliteration: where the same sound is used at the beginning of two
words that are near each other.
The Structure Of The Poem - Alliteration
Mini Task 8
Look at the stanzas below and identify the alliteration used in them.
Blue were her eyes as the fairy-flax,
Her cheeks like the dawn of day,
And her bosom white as the hawthorn buds,
That ope in the month of May.
She struck where the white and fleecy waves
Looked soft as carded wool,
But the cruel rocks, they gored her side
Like the horns of an angry bull.
Note: ‘ope’ is short for ‘open’. Word shortening is often used by poets
as a way of making sure a line has the right number of syllables.
Toolbox Terms
• Alliteration: where the same sound is used at the beginning of two
words that are near each other.
Mini Task 8a
Now identify any alliteration in the Stanza you were given to read aloud.
The Structure Of The Poem - Repetition
Another strong feature of the poem is Longfellow’s use of repetition,
especially when he has a character speaking.
Mini Task 9
• Look at the stanzas below and identify the Repetition used in them.
"Last night, the moon had a golden ring,
And to-night no moon we see!"
The skipper, he blew a whiff from his pipe,
And a scornful laugh laughed he.
"Come hither! come hither! my little daughter,
And do not tremble so;
For I can weather the roughest gale
That ever wind did blow."
• Explain why you think Longfellow used the examples of repetition
you have identified.
Toolbox Terms
• Repetition: where a word or phrase in a poem is repeated. This is
usually done for rhythmic purposes or to emphasize a point the poet
wants to make.
• Internal Rhyme: Where the rhyme is within a line or stanza, not at
the end of the line.
The Structure Of The Poem - Repetition
Another strong feature of the poem is Longfellow’s use of repetition,
especially when he has a character speaking.
Mini Task 9
• Look at the stanzas below and identify the Repetition used in them.
"Last night, the moon had a golden ring,
And to-night no moon we see!"
The skipper, he blew a whiff from his pipe,
And a scornful laugh laughed he.
"Come hither! come hither! my little daughter,
And do not tremble so;
For I can weather the roughest gale
That ever wind did blow."
• Explain why you think Longfellow used the examples of repetition
you have identified.
Moon: Clear to cloudy skies which emphasises how the weather has
changed and how unsafe the experienced sailor now feels.
Laugh: Shows how proud and arrogantly confident the Captain is.
Come Hither: Creates a rhythm that is complemented by the internal
rhyme on ‘daughter’.
Mini Task 9a
Now identify any Repetition in the Stanza you were given to read
aloud and say if they are there for rhythm or emphasis or both.
Message & Meaning
Mini Task 10
What was the ‘message’ that Longfellow was trying to convey to his
readers when he wrote this poem.
Message & Meaning
Mini Task 10
What was the ‘message’ that Longfellow was trying to convey to his
readers when he wrote this poem.
The theme and central message of this poem is the danger of stubborn
pride. At the beginning of the poem the captain was too stubborn to
listen to the old, experienced sailor's warning. He shows arrogant
pride when he ignores this warning, the changing weather, the
warning shots and bells and he finally tells his frightened daughter in
one of the Key lines in the poem:
For I can weather the roughest gale
That ever wind did blow."
In the end his pride cost him his life, his daughter's life and the life of
all his crew. If he has listened to the sailor and returned to port for the
night, he would have saved his ship and many lives.
Message & Meaning - 2
Mini Task 10
What was the ‘message’ that Longfellow was trying to convey to his
readers when he wrote this poem.
The daughter is an innocent victim in all this and though her father ties
her to the mast to save her from being swept overboard, this means
that she sees the crew all killed and her father freeze to death. She is
left alive and terrified as the ship crashes onto the rocks of Norman’s
Woe and breaks up. She is unable to escape and drowns, tied to the
mast as the horrifies fisherman discovers the morning after the storm
Assignment & Quiz
Imagine you are either The Captain, his daughter or the fisherman that
finds the wreckage. Write out the events of the poem from your point
of view. Remember to describe clearly what your chosen character is
thinking and feeling as the tragic story of the poem unfolds. If you are
the Captain or his daughter think carefully about how you are going to
describe how your character dies – does their voice continue to
describe things after their death or is that the end? Are you going to
describe these events in real time as they happen or are you some sort
of spirit that is looking back at the end of their life? If you are the
fisherman, what do you think and feel as you see this girl floating in
the water?
400-600 Words
by Thursday 25th September.
Quiz Thurs 18th September
Resources
If you would like a copy of this PowerPoint presentation to help
write your assignment or revise for your quiz, then go to Mr
Tim’s website page:
http://www.timdunne.org/hesperus.html

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