Then my quest became a struggle not to fall into 'thumpety-thumps' as I read, and I mostly managed that, so I have to say my reading experience of this epic poem was a success. He had mittens, Minjekahwun, Magic mittens made of deer-skin; When upon his hands he wore them, He could smite the rocks asunder, He could grind them into powder. And the squirrel, Adjidaumo, Frisked and chatted very gayly, Toiled and tugged with Hiawatha Till the labor was completed. But this is a reflection of how pervasive the poem once was in American culture. One of Schoolcraft's stories was about a chief named Hiawatha who was famous for forming the Iroquois nation. The descriptions are so specific and paint such beautiful pictures.
This 1855 masterpiece combines romance and idealism in an idyllic natural setting. With his great eyes lights the wigwam? It would be great fun to read aloud and act out. From his pouch he took his colors, Took his paints of different colors, On the smooth bark of a birch-tree Painted many shapes and figures, Wonderful and mystic figures, And each figure had a meaning, Each some word or thought suggested. For Longfellow, Hiawatha becomes a figure of mythic powers, responsible for bringing together in peace the various tribes of the region, creating picture writing to remember great deeds and send messages, clearing rivers, killing evil creatures, etc. And his heart within him fluttered, Trembled like the leaves above him, Like the birch-leaf palpitated, As the deer came down the pathway. I suppose some might think it a cliche, the brave warrior, the mixture of nature and humanity, the gods in the winds, but I saw it much as reading the Greek myths.
The infectious rhythm of The Song of Hiawatha has drawn millions to the shores of Gitchee Gumee. And my mother used to recite the beginning of the section on Hiawatha's birth whenever the mood took her. And she called her name Wenonah, As the first-born of her daughters. The meter is trochaic tetrameter, meaning 4 strong-weak beats per line. Critics believe such mistakes are likely attributable to Schoolcraft who was often careless about details or to what always happens when someone who does not understand the nuances of a language and its grammar tries to use select words out of context.
Hiawatha's Childhood By the shores of Gitche Gumee, By the shining Big-Sea-Water, Stood the wigwam of Nokomis, Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis. Dora Wheeler's Minnehaha listening to the waterfall 1884 design for a needle-woven tapestry, made by the for the house, was also epic. Longfellow provided something entirely new, a vision of the continent's pre-European civilisation in a metre adapted from a Finnish, non- source. To do this, she has to walk around it at night, while no one is watching, with no clothes on. The union of Minnehaha, Laughing Water and Hiawatha establishes peace between the two nations. In a series of black-and-white photos taken in the 1920s a group of girls at a New England summer camp act out scenes from The Song of Hiawatha. He took some interesting ideas and turned them into a lovely epic saga that captured the public's imagination in various ways for many years.
All the village came and feasted, All the guests praised Hiawatha, Called him Strong-Heart, Soan-ge-taha! Come up from below the water, Let us see which is the stronger! She was sporting with her women, Swinging in a swing of grape-vines, When her rival the rejected, Full of jealousy and hatred, Cut the leafy swing asunder, Cut in twain the twisted grape-vines, And Nokomis fell affrighted Downward through the evening twilight, On the Muskoday, the meadow, On the prairie full of blossoms. I have very mixed feelings about this poem. My son had to memorize two stanzas of this poem for an end-of-the-year project in the 4th grade. She painted her Minnehaha Feeding Birds about 1880. I remember, she read at least the famous passage to me when I was a kid and the sound of it has since floated about my head. Here is the Wiki link to read about him, if anyone is interested: Longfellow was a poet.
Bugs starts out reading the poem, young Hiawatha comes floating down the river on a rabbit hunt, and the rest is poetic hilarity. Was it not to see the maiden, See the face of Laughing Water Peeping from behind the curtain, Hear the rustling of her garments From behind the waving curtain, As one sees the Minnehaha Gleaming, glancing through the branches, As one hears the Laughing Water From behind its screen of branches? But late last year I read and decided I should see what else this famous American poet had to say. Neither is it a product of European culture, though he modeled it on epics like the Finnish Kalevala. Patiently sat Hiawatha, Listening to his father's boasting; With a smile he sat and listened, Uttered neither threat nor menace, Neither word nor look betrayed him, But his heart was hot within him, Like a living coal his heart was. No more work, and no more weeping, Wahonowin! Despite the critics, the poem was immediately popular with readers and continued so for many decades. Nokomis is a wonderful kind and loving grandmother who answers all his questions and provides nurturing guidance. The Song presents a legend of Hiawatha and his lover in 22 chapters and an Introduction.
Then began the deadly conflict, Hand to hand among the mountains; From his eyry screamed the eagle, The Keneu, the great war-eagle, Sat upon the crags around them, Wheeling flapped his wings above them. He builds a canoe by asking trees and animals of the forest to provide the materials. Los Altos, California: William Kaufmann, Inc. Dark behind it rose the forest, Rose the black and gloomy pine-trees, Rose the firs with cones upon them; Bright before it beat the water. Their chief value is that they are Indian legends. When I picked The Song Of Hiawatha, I admit I was a little concerned that I would have visions of the Bugs Bunny cartoon running through my head the entire time I was reading. Hidden in the alder-bushes,There he waited till the deer came, Till he saw two antlers lifted, Saw two eyes look from the thicket, Saw two nostrils point to windward, And a deer came down the pathway, Flecked with leafy light and shadow.
In the ensuing chapters, Hiawatha has childhood adventures, falls in love with Minnehaha, slays the evil magician Pearl-Feather, invents written language, discovers corn and other episodes. There the wrinkled old Nokomis Nursed the little Hiawatha. Bugs starts out reading the poem, young Hiawatha comes floating down the river on a rabbit hunt, and I seem to have successfully avoided reading much of anything by Longfellow for nearly 58 years. It has a pressing, easy rhythm that pulls readers along through the poem, although a couple of times, the meter forces a change in the way words are said. However, the heroes are very different.