What is the theme for the poem "Dawn" by Paul Laurence Dunbar?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The poem "Dawn," by Paul Laurence Dunbar, is a short, four line poem. The poem, while not long, provides a very distinct theme. Given that theme refers to the subject of a poem, Dunbar provides two very direct clues as to the theme, the title and the last line.

The title of the poem allows readers to identify the subject of the text. Given that the poem describes how dawn came about, by a white-robed angel kissing night and night blushing, the poem's theme is solidified.

The last line of the poem describes how dawn was named. Men saw Night blush, after being kissed by the white-robed angel, and named it based upon the hue of color seen on the cheek of Night. Given that night was no longer darkened, the dawn was named for the oncoming of light.


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