3 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow A Cross of SnowHenry Wadsworth Longfellow
4 Grief is… Metaphor Writing Review: What is a metaphor?What is grief to you? If you had to describe it using a comparison, what would you compare it to?Example: Grief is…Grief is a soggy, smelly sock after a lost football game.Grief is a piece of candy dropped into a puddle.Write at least three metaphor sentences about what grief is to you.
5 Read “The Cross of Snow” Review: What did Longfellow experience in his life that may have caused him great grief?Page 178Paraphrase line by line for understanding
6 DISCUSS Why is grief so difficult to express? Why might have Longfellow put this poem aside?
7 Longfellow’s sonnet “The Cross of Snow” was inspired by two images familiar to Longfellow. One was Fanny’s portrait by Samuel Worcester Rowse (1859) and the other was an engraving of Jackson’s photograph of the “Mountain of the Holy Cross” (1875).This engraving showed a striking natural phenomenon in the Rocky Mountains; snow-filled crevices on the side of a mountain in the Rockies projected the image of a cross which could be seen from many miles away. Because the crevices were so high on the mountain, the crevices remained snow-filled year around. In the mid-1800’s, few Easterners, including Longfellow, had visited the Rocky Mountains, and such an image created much interest back East.
8 Also of interest back East was the rather old-fashioned practice of sealing a lock of a child’s hair into a paper packet. While doing so, Fanny’s dress caught fire. She ran to Henry’s study where he put out the flames. However, her lower body and torso were badly burned, and she died the following morning, July 10, 1861.Eighteen years after Fanny’s tragic death, Longfellow uses the image on the mountain to describe his feelings about her and her death. The first part of the poem locates her portrait in their bedroom where she died. He agonizes over her physical pain and extols the virtue of her soul. The second part of the poem, after the eighth line, turns the reader’s focus to the cross-shaped, snow-filled crevices on the side of the mountain “in the distant West.” The last three lines ofthe poem metaphorically describe the cross of sorrow Henry has worn for eighteen years. Just as the snow in the crevices remains an entire season and season after season, hislove for Fanny remains “changeless since the day she died.”
9 Complete poem questions. Look at the questions on page We will do them together today.How is grief “a cross of snow”? Why might have Longfellow chosen this title?How does this poem relate to Romanticist thought/ideals?
10 Read Elements of Literature (page 180) How many lines are in a sonnet?What is the usual rhyme scheme?What does a sonnet usually do?What is the subject?What comment is made on the subject?What is the rhyme scheme in this poem?
11 Discussion Questions What is the rhyme scheme? Grammatically, how many sentences are there in the sonnet? What does each sentence describe?3. What color dominates the sonnet? What does that color symbolize?4. What do the words “martyrdom” and “benedight” mean?5. What is the dominant symbol in the sonnet? What does it signify?
12 Your assignment In pairs, try your hand at writing your own sonnet. Present a subject at the beginning of your poem.Make a comment about your subject at the end of your poem.Try to follow this rhyme scheme:ABBA ABBA CDE CDE
13 HOMEWORK…Think of a favorite fall memory that you are willing to share with your classmates.Bring in a favorite fall picture (it can be personal, or it can be something from a magazine or the Internet, for example).