Analysis Of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 's Poem ' A Psalm Of Life '

1020 Words Oct 19th, 2015 5 Pages
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s lyric poem “A Psalm of Life” portrays a youthful soul, eager to uplift and encourage a psalmist who lost their way. Simplistic and straightforward, the poem excitedly delves into human views upon life. The poem gives the reader a deeper understanding of how one should approach the problems in life, always seeking to improve either one’s mindset or situation. Stanza by stanza, “A Poem of Life” exhibits the ultimate encouraging and hopeful spirit, providing instructions for purposeful living and embodying the soul of vitality and the optimistic view of self betterment and fulfillment.
The first stanza begins as the speaker dismisses the depressing views of the psalmist he speaks to. The poem explains that life is real and believing otherwise puts one in an illusion. If one believes in the supposed futility of life, then their soul sleeps and eventually dies. The second stanza builds on this idea, proclaiming the Realness of life, “Life is real! Life is earnest!”
(Longfellow). The third line of this stanza contains an allusion to the book of Genesis, further developing an admonition of the superficial, depraved views of human life occasionally presented in religion (Poetry for Students). Although the mortal body dies, the true source of life, the soul, will always live on. The third stanza moves away from arguing the reality of life and presents the theme of the poem. It reminds the reader that simple emotion such as joy or sorrow pale in comparison…

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