Stephen Crane

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Stephen Crane’s poem “To the Maiden” reflects the perspectives of two different people. Who are the two people? What are their viewpoints? Why do they view the sea differently?

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Rebecca Hope eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The two people viewing the sea are a young woman (maiden) and a sailor. The maiden's perspective is given in the first stanza, while the sailor's is given in the second.

The maiden enjoys looking at the sea. To her, it is as lovely and peaceful as a blue meadow. The sea stimulates her imagination. As she looks out at the waves, she thinks of them as "little froth-people." This could be because the whitecaps look like white hair atop the erect forms. The sound of the surf is soothing to her. She imagines it as the voices of the wave-people singing in chorus. It is safe to assume that she has never had any bad experiences with the ocean.

The sailor has a very different perspective on the sea. He is described as "wrecked." Whether this means the sailor is currently stranded by a shipwreck, in current danger from shipwreck, or whether he had experienced a shipwreck in the past is unclear. To him, the sea is a prison with "dead grey walls." If he is or was cut off from home and civilization by...

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