Spirituals - FigurativelyFandrey

“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”
“Go Down, Moses”
Complete the Words
and Images handout
while listening to this.
Complete the
Words and
Images handout
while listening
to this
• Explanation of Coded Spirituals
• Historical Reference and Explanation
Swing low, sweet chariot,
Comin' for to carry me home;
Swing low, sweet chariot,
Comin' for to carry me home.
Sweet Chariot represents:
1-Biblical reference to prophet
Elijah being carried home on a fiery
2 - Underground Railroad
Carry my Home represents
1 – Biblical reference to wanting
salvation; going to heaven
2 – going “home” to freedom;
I looked over Jordan,
And WHAT did I see,
Comin' for to carry me home,
Jordan represents:
1 – River between Israel and Jordan
2 – The Ohio River
Band of Angels represents
1 – Angels of Heaven bringing
A band of angels comin' after me, person to salvation
2 – Underground Railroad (the
people coming to help)
Comin' for to carry me home.
If you get there before I do,
Comin' for to carry me home,
Tell all my friends I'm comin' too,
Comin' for to carry me home
The main idea here is to let
others know about the
railroad, let others know
about freedom and let
others know it is time to
move. Another idea is that
once out you will help
others find their way.
Way down in Egypt land
Moses represents:
• Biblical Moses who helped Hebrews
escape oppression from the Pharaoh
and Egyptians
• Harriet Tubman – leader of
Underground Railroad helping slaves
Tell the Pharaoh
Go Down: Telling the leader to go deep
into land of oppression (deep south)
To Let my people go.
Pharaoh represents:
• Biblical Pharaoh
• Slaveholder
Go down, Moses,
Line 4: Constant repetition of asking to let
the Hebrew/Slaves go.
(Metaphors and Allusions)
When Israel was in Egypt’s land;
Let my people go,
Oppressed so hard they could not stand,
Let my people go.
Lines 5 and 7
conditions the
people are in.
The harshness
they have to
“Thus spoke the Lord,” bold Moses said;
Let my people go,
If not I’ll smite your first born dead,
Let my people go
Each time Moses spoke he was
being bold for standing up to
Pharaoh. 1st because he was
using the Lord’s name, 2nd
because people considered the
Pharaoh to be God.
Last plague that Moses told was
going to happen to the Pharaoh
if he did not let the people go.
Warning that there will be
bloodshed; both for Pharaoh
and for Slaveholders.
A narrative that serves as an extended metaphor. The
main purpose of an allegory is to tell a story that has
characters, a setting, as well as other types of symbols,
that have both literal and figurative meanings. The
difference between an allegory and a symbol is that an
allegory is a complete narrative that conveys abstract
ideas to get a point across, while a symbol is a
representation of an idea or concept that can have a
different meaning throughout a literary work.
What makes
these spirituals

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