To Brooklyn Bridge

by Hart Crane
Start Free Trial

How does Hart Crane venerate the Brooklyn Bridge in “To Brooklyn Bridge”?

In “To Brooklyn Bridge,” Hart Crane venerates the Brooklyn Bridge by reflecting on its permanence, its projection of freedom and vitality, and its symbolism of life and dreams.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In his poem “To Brooklyn Bridge,” Hart Crane offers a kind of veneration to this New York landmark, recognizing its permanence and the power and freedom it symbolizes.

In the midst of the busyness and tumult of the city, the bridge stands in the sunshine, reflecting the light...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

In his poem “To Brooklyn Bridge,” Hart Crane offers a kind of veneration to this New York landmark, recognizing its permanence and the power and freedom it symbolizes.

In the midst of the busyness and tumult of the city, the bridge stands in the sunshine, reflecting the light of the sun that seems to step across the bridge. It is solid, permanent, yet in the light, it seems to have a certain motion as well that suggests a freedom and energy that almost belong to a living being. This bridge is so much a part of the city that it is more than a landmark; it is something of a resident.

As the speaker watches, a man jumps from the bridge and falls into the water. People just pass by, hardly noticing. For this man, the bridge has become an escape, although we must wonder whether this act will truly prove to be an escape or whether the bridge actually has a sinister side.

The speaker continues by comparing the bridge to the “heaven of the Jews,” a place of “vibrant reprieve and pardon” with a kind of “harp and altar” of its own. The bridge, apparently, symbolizes hope for many people, almost a religious hope of salvation in some way. This could allude to the hope that America has symbolized for many generations of immigrants who, since the bridge's opening in 1883, have looked upon it as a wonder.

Toward the end of the poem, the speaker stands beneath the bridge and is struck again by its sense of vitality. It it sleepless, just like the river, and it represents the dreams of many Americans.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on