The Village Blacksmith Questions and Answers
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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What makes "The Village Blacksmith" an inspirational poem?

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What makes "The Village Blacksmith" particularly inspiring is the way the man himself goes about his work every day no matter what life throws at him. Being a blacksmith is hard, physical work and requires a lot of strength. That in itself is inspiring. And we're left in no doubt by Longfellow that the blacksmith is a hard worker:

His brow is wet with honest sweat, He earns whate'er he can, And looks the whole world in the face, For he owes not any man.

Not only is he a hardworking man, he's also fiercely independent. He can stand tall and look his fellow men in the eye because he works for himself; he's not reliant on anyone else for his daily bread. In many respects, the village blacksmith is the epitome of the age-old American tradition of rugged individualism. At the same time, he's unmistakably a part of his community, going to church every Sunday and listening to his daughter sing in the choir. As a widowed father he cares deeply for his daughter and venerates the memory of his late wife:

He hears his daughter's voice, Singing in the village choir, And it makes his heart rejoice. It sounds to him like her mother's voice, Singing in Paradise! He needs must think of her once more, How in the grave she lies; And with his hard, rough hand he wipes A tear out of his eyes.

The village blacksmith inspires because he teaches us all a valuable lesson in how to live our lives. Whatever he endures, be it hard work, sorrows, or joys, he still carries on, striving hard to shape his life just as he shapes hot, burning metal on his anvil.

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