James Russell Lowell Journal

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James Russell Lowell

A. Background on the Author
James Russell Lowell was born in Cambridge, Mass., on Feb. 22, 1819, of a well-established New England family. Following family tradition, he attended Harvard, graduating in 1838 and taking a law degree there in 1840. Soon after the publication of his first volume of poems, A Year's Life (1841), he gave up law to devote himself to literature.

B. Author’s Major Works and Awards
* The Biglow Papers
* A Vision of Sir Launfel

C. Title and Genre of the Selection
1. Stanzas on Freedom – Poem
2. The First Snowfall – Poem

D. Brief Plot Summary
1. The poem is about slavery and the way people should feel about it in Lowell's opinion. 2. The poem is about the description of snow and the gradual shifts to the healing process of the death of his daughter.

E. Setting
1. N/A
2. Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts

F. Main Characters
1. N/A
2. Narrator
Mabel

G. Theme/Purpose
1. His purpose was to show that as long as people allow slavery to exist, we will never truly be free. 2. Death can never be forgotten and even if the snow covers the grave, it’s still there.

H. Literary Techniques or Devices
1. Alliteration
Metaphor
Simile
2. Symbolism

I. Personal Response Section
1. I loved this poem! It was like a big “Screw you!” to all the racists in the world. Instead of only condemning men for allowing slavery, I like that he also included women. It’s funny how he asked them that if they don’t get upset about their fellow females in chains, if they’re good enough to have children that are brave and free. Lowell tells people that they’re slaves themselves if they’re too scared to speak up for other people’s rights. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” That is absolutely true, but the sad reality is that there will always be injustice somewhere. Even today, look at...
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