Explain the them of the poem "The Slave's Dream"."The Slave's Dream" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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missy575's profile pic

missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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There are a few themes worth noting in "The Slave's Dream."

I think the best to look at is the liberation of the slave. Under the circumstances of this particular slave, he is released from this life and passes into death. In either this state of permanent sleep or heavenly dreaming, the slave recalls his former life in Africa wherein he could be with his wife, his children, his horse, his manhood, and the freedom of the beach. The author notes the shoreline, the foliage of the forest nearby, and the power of the riding of his horse as a mighty warrior.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The theme of this poem is that slavery is bad.  Specifically, it is saying that slavery is bad because of what it does to the slaves.  In this poem, Longfellow is saying that slavery takes men and women who should be free and powerful and turns them into people who are neither.

In the dream that the slave has, he is both free and powerful.  He is able to see himself as a king back in Africa.  But in reality, because of slavery, he is so powerless that what is really happening is that he is being beaten to death.

rosy27blush's profile pic

rosy27blush | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) eNoter

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the poem is a strong cry against the inhuman practise of slavery wich forbids the rightful freedom of men and women who are made slaves. it depicts the intence longing for freedom. the poet says that d desire for freedom cannot be surpressed evn though a person remains is chains for years together. the slave has been fettered for a long time, yet in his sleep he always escapes to his native land, where he was always free nd was a king. he is seen meeting his family wich shows his love, he is then seen riding a horse through his nativeland describing the beauty of it. last of it shows that d whole place including the desert animals forest allcheer him to return victorious. he does recieve freedom but only through death in wich the soul leaves the chained nd useless body of the slave. it makes us realize that a slave is also human and has his freedom. but once a slave, u can be free oly wen death meets u.

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