Do the trees and the animals encourage the slave or do they cheer for his victory in the poem "The Slave's Dream" by Henry Wordsworth Longfellow?

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jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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In "The Slave's Dream" by Henry Wordsworth Longfellow, the trees and animals both encourage the slave and cheer for his victory.

The poem describes an African-American slave who has fallen asleep "beside the ungathered rice."  In his sleep, the slave dreams of "his Native Land" of Africa.

Many different aspects of the African geography and wildlife remind the slave that he had once been a free man.  These aspects include: "the palm-trees on the plain"; "the mountain-road"; the bank of the Niger River; the "bright flamingoes"; the "plains where the tamarind grew"; the view of the ocean; the lion's roar; and  the "scream" of the hyena.  All of these memories encourage the slave.

Near the end of the poem, Longfellow writes:

The forests, with their myriad tongues, 
Shouted of liberty; 
And the Blast of the Desert cried aloud, 
With a voice so wild and free...

This can be thought of as a cheer for the slave's victory.



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