An Analysis of the Poem, The Tides

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During the Romantic Period of literature, William Cullen Bryant created the brilliant poem, “The Tides.” This specific poem is the story of watching the tides change. Most of Bryant’s works are nature-oriented and take advantage of multiple literary terms. “The Tides” has a significant meaning, several romantic elements, and uses many literary devices.

The general interpretation of “The Tides” is about what occurs when the tides change. Bryant uses great description in characterizing the violent seas at high tide. Norbert Krapf analyzed this poem and described the water becoming mysterious, not still and pond-like. (Krapf 6) The poet gives the water violent characteristics. “His imagination transforms the scene into an image of limitation and imprisonment” (Krapf 7). The poem begins as a calm, serene ocean. Increasingly throughout the story, waters become more violent marking as the change of the tides from low to high. The meaning of “The Tides” can also be very deep. As the change to high tide strikes, the sea relieves its stress and releases. Humans go through the exact same thing by relieving stress. Norbert Krapf also writes that “The Tides” is powerful and the sea yearns for release. (Krapf 7)

William Cullen Bryant wrote “The Tides” during the Romantic Era. Bryant gave this poem many Romantic qualities. Describing the sea before and during high tide sees the attitude of “longing for the past” While the sea is becoming violent, there is a sense of the waters wanting to become as serene as they were during low tide. The “love for the natural landscape” is described throughout the entire duration of the poem. The narrator depicts a violent scene of the tides as they change into a beautiful scene of nature. Bryant depicts the beauty of the sea and his appreciation for the ocean. The “concern for individual freedom” is also a romantic attitude seen in “The Tides.” The ocean waters are described as imprisoned and wanting to relieve their stress. When the...
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