Presentation on theme: "James Russell Lowell 1819-1891. Background Lowell lost three of his four children at the height of his literary fame. –In the mid-1800s, this was not."— Presentation transcript:
James Russell Lowell 1819-1891
Background Lowell lost three of his four children at the height of his literary fame. –In the mid-1800s, this was not uncommon. –1/3 of children born in urban areas died before the age of 21 due to diseases such as measles, diphtheria, and small pox Wrote “The First Snow-Fall” for one of his daughters –The child Mabel in the poem is his lone living daughter
“The First Snow-Fall” Poem’s title refers to the first snow fall since the death of his daughter Stanzas 1-4 describe the overnight fall of snow on the land, the trees, the shed, and the fence. It is in the fifth stanza that the speaker introduces the image of a snow-covered graveyard.
“The First Snow-Fall” (cont.) In the seventh stanza, the reader can infer that the “first great sorrow” was the death of his child. In the ninth stanza, the reader sees the use of what could be considered figurative language. –Lines 34-36 – “The snow that husheth all, / Darling, the merciful Father / Alone can make it fall!” Death results from God’s will.
Theme Time blurs the sharpness of grief. –Implied through the imagery of the gradually falling snow –Time heals.
The Snow Lowell uses alternate words for snow that have positive connotations. –“ermine too dear for an earl” –“pearl” –“sheds new roofed with Carrara –“stiff rails softened to swan’s down
The Snow (cont.) Snow = the ability to find comfort over the course of time Makes things softer, quieter, and more beautiful Creates a silent, white world
The Snow (cont.) The snow conveys a number of feelings/ideas in the poem. –Peacefulness (line 1-4) –Beauty (lines 5-8) –Change (lines 9-12) –Perseverance (line 14) –Compassion (lines 17-20) –Patience (lines 29-32) –Holiness (lines 33-36) –Protectiveness (lines 17-29; 40)
View of Death Lowell views death in a very serious and respectful manner. He sees this death as sad, and this is very sacred to him. However, he views all these events as God’s work/will.