"Barefoot Boy, With Cheek Of Tan!"

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Last Updated on January 19, 2017, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 133

Context: In this once familiar classic of schoolroom recitations, Whittier followed the doctrine laid down by Wordsworth a generation earlier: the essential innocence and happiness of childhood as compared with the burdens and cares of later life. The poem contains an excellently observed series of details of the life of...

(The entire section contains 133 words.)

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Context: In this once familiar classic of schoolroom recitations, Whittier followed the doctrine laid down by Wordsworth a generation earlier: the essential innocence and happiness of childhood as compared with the burdens and cares of later life. The poem contains an excellently observed series of details of the life of a boy in the country of Whittier's own time, when America was still predominantly rural and when such details would be familiar. It is the poet's intention to create a nostalgic picture of a boy's carefree existence soon to be brought to an end as life's responsibilities crowd in. The description begins:

Blessings on thee, little man,
Barefoot boy, with cheek of tan!
With thy turned-up pantaloons,
And thy merry whistled tunes;
With thy red lip, redder still
Kissed by strawberries on the hill. . . .

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