Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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The Cross Of Snow Summary

What is the main idea of "The Cross of Snow" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow?

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"The Cross of Snow" by Longfellow is a touching tribute to Longfellow's wife, who died in a house fire. The poem, divided into four stanzas, compares his love for her to a "sun-defying" cross of snow on a mountain.

The first two stanzas memoralize his wife and cover how wonderful of a woman she was. Words like benedight, martydom, halo, and gentle reinforce the goodness of this woman. The poem also begins with, "In the long, sleepless watches of the night," setting up the grief that is still present in his life - he stays up at night thinking of her.  

The third stanza introduces the main idea with the image of the cross of snow. It tells of a mountain in the west that, despite the sun's rays, constantly displays a cross of snow in the ravines of the mountain. The fourth stanza completes the metaphor by explaining that his love for her is like the cross of snow; despite years and changing seasons, this love he feels continues, unchanging. This is the main idea of the poem; the love he...

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