Can you help me with these questions on the "Old Ironsides"?
Who is the speaker? What kind of person is the speaker?
What is the basic situation?
Describe the poem's mood. Explain what contributes to the mood.
Identify words that have a connotative meaning which help to clarify the author's tone. Explain each example.
Write a brief summary of the poem.
PLEASE HELP ME
Old Ironsides, by Oliver Wendell Holmes, starts,
Aye, tear her tattered ensign down!
Long has it waved on high
And many an eye has danced to see
That banner in the sky!
The USS Constitution was old, and a rumor started that it was about to be decommissioned and abandoned in 1830. When he heard that the ship was in danger, 21-year-old Holmes wrote his stirring poem about the ship. A public outcry resulted, and Holmes is credited with saving the ship.
The poem's mood is controlled anger and indignation at the fate planned for the noble old ship that has served the nation so well.
Here are a few of the connotative terms to get you started:
tattered ensign - the ship's flag would have been tattered from battle
victor's tread - the ship was involved in many victories at sea
conquered knee - the "vanquished foe" were brought to their knees figuratively if not literally
holy flag - At a time when Manifest Destiny was more than a romantic notion, the phrase would indicate that God was on the side of the ship
Summary of the poem:
The Constitution has been an integral part of protecting the United States from enemies on the seas, and she deserves a better fate than the ignominy of decommissioning and dismantling. A more fitting end would be for the ship to be sunk in the ocean by storms.
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