Week 14–No Friday School But You Still Have School (Dickinson, Whitman, Longfellow, Harper)


For The Week of December 12-19

So for the last month we have been so wrapped up in Uncle Tom’s Cabin that we haven’t been able to look at some of the other literature in our textbook. This week I want you go go back and re-read some portions of your textbook and also read some literature selections in American Voices. Now according to your textbook you are supposed to be reading Co Aytch, although I am not going to assign it, if you like war stories it looks like it is even better than The Red Badge of Courage. You might want to read it for fun. So anyways, here are your assignments 🙂

You will also need to check back for more assignments the week after break, right before our next Friday School.

We will have Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. 


Please copy this part into your note book or print it out and put it in there:

Literary Terms:

  • Free Verse--Poetry that does not have a regular meter or rhyme (introduced by Walt Whitman)
  • Cadence- The musical run of words that rises and falls in lines; long, easy sweep of sound that echoes the Bible and speeches from orators and preachers.

–Okay, your notes are over–

Why does this stuff matter? I mean because you have to do school and all, but why does poetry matter?

Please watch:

Comment Section: I need you to talk to me in the comment section about what you liked and DIDN’T like about this weeks reading. Think critically. “It was boring” or “It didn’t make sense” is not a critical reason for not liking it, it is just an excuse to be lazy. So talk to me about the works. 🙂 Because we don’t have class this week, I am going to participate in this discussion in the comment section so I need you to check back throughout the week. Because I want to be able to draw your attention to certain key passages in the poetry. So plan on leaving at least 4 comments this week as you read and interact with the poetry and the story. You will be given a big grade for participation in this conversation 🙂


  • Read “American Poetry” (it is pg. 236-237 in the new book, the middle of Lesson 43 in all books). It is just a nice review of things we have talked about already in class as far as rhythm and rhyme.
  • Read “The Growth of American Literature” (it is on pg. 228-230 in the new book, the middle of Lesson 42 in all books). This is a general introduction to famous writers at this time. We have already read Poe and Hawthorne. Melville is famous for Moby Dick. Irving is famous for “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” among other things. And James Fenimore Cooper is another famous writer, that we will get to see Mark Twain make fun of pretty soon 🙂
  • Read Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Poetry (American Voices pg. 138)


  • Watch this video: It is a beautiful adaptation of one of Emily Dickinson’s poems (3 minutes)



  • Read Walt Whitman’s Poetry (American Voices pg. 186-187)

***Please make sure you discuss the poetry and the poets this week in the comment section below.


  • Frances Harper’s Poetry (American Voices pg. 183-184)

  • Begin reading Washington Irving–I wanted to throw in “The Legend of Rip Van Winkle” by Washington Irving (pg. 111-120 in American Voices) Just for fun.


  • Finish “The Legend of Rip Van Winkle”


70 thoughts on “Week 14–No Friday School But You Still Have School (Dickinson, Whitman, Longfellow, Harper)

  1. I guess I’ll start… doing school on a Saturday ftw.

    Anyways, I liked Uncle Tom’s Cabin because it had so much depth to it. Literally, in certain parts (such as when Legree was telling his story) my mind started zooming in. It was like I never existed on earth (though I had the audiobook on). Another thing I liked were the characters. The characters really stood up to me, unlike most other books I read. In the other books, it’s just like “Oh yeah, this guy’s name is *name* and he does *blah blah*”. In this book, it directly tells us, but it leaves us to find the rest.

    One thing I didn’t like was me reading the book. My eyes would always wonder off somewhere, and then I tried to find my place, but it took awhile. Though, with audiobook, it I found it a lot faster. Another thing I disliked was the excitement in one part, but you’re reading another part, and you’re still thinking about the first part. I know that may sound weird, but it’s true. I mean, who would want to read the author talking to us than to read the action and excitement? Not saying the author talking to us is boring, but I’d rather see excitement.

    1. That is why I love having the audiobook available for you guys. Some people are just more auditory and there is nothing wrong with that!

      Thank you for sharing what you liked about the book. I am so happy that it made an impact on you.

      I sure wish you guys could have been here Friday for the debates. You were missed. I also hope your brother feels better 🙂

      God bless you!

      1. I had some arguments and counter-arguments prepared too. I guess I’ll get it another time.

        And my brother is all better, I think.

  2. I absolutely love Uncle Tom’s Cabin because you get physically absorbed into the book, as well as emotionally. I cried several times during certain deaths, beatings, and speeches. The liberty Tom shows astounds me, even though he is anything but a free man on this earth. His faith is remarkable and I wish I could have had the time to meet him. Eva, as well, was a beautiful little soul to read about. She impacted her father, St. Clare, so much! I was sad to have had finished the book, but I was joyous because I felt God was showing something to me/us.

    In some ways I disliked the book because of my wandering eyes that wanted to read ahead and spoil the show. However, that was entirely my fault. I also disliked Mr. Hayley. I absolutely hated bullet head. I hated Marie St. Clare even worse. I’m not one to use “hate” in my vocabulary, but I’m certain I despise them enough to have a strong hatred for them! Not only that, but every time I’d get into the book, my mom would pull me out of it because I had to eat lunch, or groceries needed to be bought, or my sister would need watching because my mom had to make dinner: (sarcasm begins) various unnecessary things she called for (sarcasm ends). Certainly, other than those aspects, I
    strongly enjoyed the book! Thank you for showing it to us, Mrs. Brandi! 😀 ❤

    1. Yes, this, all of this: “In some ways I disliked the book because of my wandering eyes that wanted to read ahead and spoil the show. ” yet, I have the audiobook on and my glasses on.

    2. YAY!!! ❤ I am so happy that I was able to share this experience with you guys. Honestly, this book is so life changing. You guys are going to remember this for the rest of your life. And may the Lord use it to bear fruit of righteousness and faith, a love of justice, compassion, and service!!! ❤ I love you!!!

  3. By the way, Brandi. When you said “Please copy this part into your note book or print it out and put it in there:”, did you mean our homework folders, orrr…

    Also, you said “For The Week of >SEPTEMBER< 12-19". Just sayin'.

  4. Before we started to read this book I was not really looking forward to it (courtesy of a dear friend who said it was boring). But I actually kind of liked it. Reading is something I do for fun, so I get excited when you tell us we will be reading ^-^ I loved the exciting chapters when Eliza was being chased by her pursuers as well as some of the more personal chapters were the characters talked about themselves. Such as the one which contained Cassy’s story. I also have a tendency to read a portion of the book that describes a character and make a mental picture of what they actually look like. If it were possible I would love to take Uncle Tom, Eva, Emmeline and young master George all out to Starbucks and have one one one conversations with them. I could spend hours with each of them just talking about their lives.

    Some chapters were at times boring to me. Either they didn’t interest me, or they were just waaayy too long and I couldn’t pay attention anymore. I disliked some characters so much I would’ve done what young master George did to Mr. Legree, knock them flat face down to the floor! and walk away like a boss 😉 The second to last chapter made me mentally cry! How Aunt Chloe kept saying things like, “My old man wont recognize the baby!” or, “Wait till he sees the money I earned for his freedom.” In my mind I kept saying “NOO SHE DOESN’T KNOW!! SHES GOING TO BE HEARTBROKEN!!” But overall I loved this book and will probably have my own kids read it 🙂

  5. Th-There was a poem c-c-called… “Evangeline” …Eva! *cries*

    lolno, but, same as summerflower, I really liked the Longfellow poem. It has so much depth to it, even though it’s simple.

  6. I really liked “The Arrow and the Song” because when I read
    “I shot the arrow into the air,
    It fell to earth, I knew not where;
    For, so swiftly it flew, the sight,
    Could not follow in its flight.”
    I felt like I was flying right beside the arrow, soaring through the air, aimlessly wondering. I’ve always liked poetry because I feel like I’m there, in the action.

  7. I really enjoyed Henry Wadsworth’s “The Arrow and The Song”. It reminds me so much of Peter Pan! ❤ Yes, I have a crush on Peter Pan… ANYWHO, I enjoyed it because it lets my imagination wander and paint with the stars in the Neverland sky and take me far away with pixie dust to fly! ❤

    1. Hi Macey 🙂 I just literally scour the internet for information that I think will help you out. The Walt Whitman video was from the online website for the cable channel “Biography.” They have videos and articles for all kinds of historical figures 🙂 biography.com 🙂

  8. From Emily Dickinson:
    “If I can stop one heart from breaking,
    I shall not live in vain;
    If I can ease one life the aching,
    Or cool one pain,
    Or help one fainting robin
    Unto his nest again,
    I shall not live in vain”

    I LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve always loved poetry, and this stanza here has got to be one of my favorites because i totally agree with the speaker, just to help one (or multiple) life, one person along the way, show them the Love of Jesus and bring them to that – it’s what life is all about.

  9. Okay you guys, so Emily Dickinson requires some thought. I love #3 “Hope is a Thing With Feathers” — can anyone tell me if she is using “metaphor” or “simile” and why?

    But I also have a special fondness in my heart for #2 (and I am talking about the poem, not changing diapers). Read it a few times and then let me know what it is about!!! And why it is so precious.

    What is your favorite poem from Emily Dickinson in this selection?

    And about Walt Whitman, I want you to marinate in his free verse like a raft in the ocean. What he is doing here is so significant to the voice and direction of American poetry. AH! I am sorry, I get too excited. But put the words into your mouth even, read it out loud. Listen to it, in your voice–hear America singing (literally). I am giving myself goosebumps. LOL.

    Sidenote–I first read “I Hear America Singing” in a Starbucks in Palm Springs California. I walked into the coffee shop surrounded by orange dirt and cacti, I ordered a cup of coffee (like an American), and I sat down and was enveloped by all kinds of weighty thoughts. It was for Dr. Tappelshay’s class–the teacher that would sit with my friend and I in the student lounge to discuss writing, and philosophy. I have rich memories of all this stuff. 🙂

    So my point is, leave a comment with your favorite Whitman quote and tell me if it affected you or not, and why.

    Also, look at his picture too. He rocked that beard. Allow yourself to be yourself. Rock your (invisible) beards. Be the type of person that sits for a picture and doesn’t suck your tummy in or feel the need to be cute. Be the type of person, whose words say more about you than your image!!!!

    ***deep thoughts today. LOL.

    1. Also, when you read free verse out loud, don’t pause at the end of the line unless there is punctuation. You only pause at a comma, a dash, or a period. Otherwise just read keep going until you find the end of the complete thought.

    2. I think it’s a simile because it didn’t say a specific type of feather. Like, it could mean a dove’s feather, and in the bible, it talks about someone or thing being a dove, and that someone or thing needs faith and hope, therefore, it connects. Of course, if it’s in literal sense not implying God or anything, then it’s a metaphor.

      I think it’ has a “special fondness” in your heart because of the last line, “Too Costly for Repairs”, and before that, it talks about reading and interrupting tears– love? I don’t know, it’s a guess.

      Oh my, he does have a beard. We should get one of those fake beards for when we get back to Friday school.

        1. Metaphor. If it were a similie, she would say “Hope is like a thing with feathers” not “Hope is a thing with feathers” because, obviously, hope has no feathers. Hope has wings of grace and a song of love that perches on our soul.

          I favor the hope poem. Why? Because my middle name is hope 😀 Yay! Plus, I love birds… ❤

  10. I honestly find Walt Whitman a bit hard to understand. I mean, I understand his concepts, yet his work just seems so bland to me. Although, the greatest poem of his was “O Captain! My Captain!” in my opinion. It shows Walt’s care for Abraham Lincoln and how much of an impact Mr. Lincoln made! See, pro-slavery people? Abolitionists were right all along 😀

    1. That is okay. I mean, “I Hear America Singing” is about how every person doing their job is like a song they sing. He is celebrating simple hardworking Americans, kinda like Bruce Springsteen used to do!!! You probably have never heard of him. I mean, I was Miley’s age when he was famous. Being proud of what you do, whether you work in a factory, or as a soldier, or whatever.

      He also wrote a poem called “Song of Myself” that you can’t read because it is too risque. It was scandalous back in the day!!! But when you read him, it can’t be for just understanding. You read Whitman like you eat a soup at Panera–for the flavor!!! You don’t ask everything that is inside of it or try to figure it all out, you just enjoy it. And savor it slowly.

      Here is a small (clean) part of “Song of Myself.” Can you see how when he writes it is meant to be savored and just enjoyed, not cracked and figured out?

      I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself,
      And what I assume you shall assume,
      For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

      I loafe and invite my soul,
      I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.

      My tongue, every atom of my blood, form’d from this soil,
      this air,
      Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and
      their parents the same,
      I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
      Hoping to cease not till death.

      Creeds and schools in abeyance,
      Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never
      I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
      Nature without check with original energy.

      Anyways, my point is that his free verse is MUCH different from what poetry had always been. He is breaking the mold and really shaking things up. It is important to our studies.

  11. I watched Emily’s Bio, and right after she said “And I cannot stop for death” I was like “Ooooo spooky film!”

    But her poems were good. I especially liked #4 or #5. It’s like trying to get you to “wazza!” or something like that.

    I liked Whitman’s “O Captain! My Captain” poem the best. Sure, he had some help from Lincoln (according to the note), but I really liked it. It gave you the feels, man. “Fallen cold and dead” “You’ve fallen cold and dead” “Fallen cold and dead”. I just couldn’t stop.

  12. I liked Whitman’s “O Captain! My Captain” the best. All the other ones were kind’a boring to me and were a bit hard to understand. But I liked when he said “My Captain! My father.” It probably wasn’t even his father but that’s how much that man impacted Whitman’s like.

    1. Macey, I left a comment for Kayley above with a video. I want you to check it out too. It will help you understand better what Walt Whitman is doing. Man, I wish we had class tomorrow so I discuss all this with you guys.

  13. I loved O Captain My Captain! I love it because in it he gives Lincoln the respect he deserves. I believe he uses the term “deck” as a ship deck, and Lincoln is the captain of the ship. I think that #3 is a simile, because when she says
    “‘HOPE’ is the thing with feathers-
    That perches in the soul-” Hope is obviously the thing with feathers, and then when she says
    “It asked a crumb-Of Me,” it could mean that hope takes a huge part of you in order to have it.

    I read that her poems often deal with “death” and “loss” and I think that #2 has to do with just that, because she says
    “Death sets a Thing significant
    The Eye had hurried by
    Except a perished Creature
    Entreat us tenderly” talking about a loss that she had.

    My favorite poem would have to be #3 from Emily Dickinson, I like the way she worded it, and with my imagination my mind went crazy during that poem.

    I feel like all of this is information that we all could use, for ourselves and our lives, it’s just a matter of being able to go in depth and understand it. btw That Guy is Nate, and I am Christahn.

    1. you might want to look up simile and metaphor. They are similar and this poem is hard, but it might help you to see what she is doing here.

      And you are on the right track with #2!!! 🙂 But what is she saying is made more significant through death?

  14. Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson were poets who used the power of the written word to stir the imagination and inspiration in their poetry. For example, in Walt Whitman’s, O Captain My Captain,you can picture the sorrow and sadness of Lincoln’s assassination, the ship’s deck, the people rejoicing at the fact the North has one the Civil War, and the victory ship coming ashore. In this poem, Whitman mourns at the loss of Lincoln. Lincoln takes the form of a captain, who after sailing a long and fearful journey (trying to abolish slavery), sadly dies before seeing “the victory ship coming, the object one” (Walt Whitman). The fact that Whitman calls Lincoln Father, shows that he had a huge respect for his president. In Emily Dickinson’s “Hope” is the thing with feathers, she describes hope as a bird that enters your soul and sings it’s song. She also describes that in the trials of her life, she still holds on to that hope.Through this poem, she brings much inspiration, for she reminds people that in the trials of life, hope will be there to hold on to. I really liked these two poems, for they both are unique in their own ways.

  15. I just read Harper’s poem. I liked the “Bury Me In a Free Land” one.

    It had that feeling attached to slaves and it had that classic AABB rhyme. I like those types of poems to be honest.
    “I could not sleep if I saw the lash
    Drinking her blood at each fearful gash,”

    Time to read “The Legend of Rip Van Winkle”.

  16. I liked both Frances Harpers poems, but the one that enticed me was “Bury Me In a Free Land.” I liked the rhyme for one, it almost makes me want to rap the poem (I won’t though, I’m a horrible rapper 😦 ). But it also made me sad how she explained slavery. such as,

    “…And the mothers shriek of wind despair,
    Rise like a curse on the trembling air.
    I could not sleep if I saw the lash,
    Drinking her blood at each fearful gash…
    I’d shudder and start if I heard the bay,
    Of bloodhounds seizing their human prey.”

    It made my blood run cold. I don’t have a very imaginative mind. I can read books on horror and not be scared because I’m very visual. So If I see a movie of the same book I read (that I didn’t get scared of) I can easy be scared out of my mind for at least three days :/ So when I read this, I pictured these things (like the whipping for example) and I became sad and a bit scared. It just shows that words are extremely powerful.

  17. Just finished “The Legend of Rip Van Winkle”. I was gonna stop at page 116, but I got too sucked in. I don’t want to give my opinions until tomorrow, because spoilers. 🙂

  18. The poems that I had read by Frances Harper were both deep with meaning, which caused me to favor them both. In Frances Harper’s, Bury Me In A Free Land, she used the power of the written word to stand against slavery. She depicts the cruelty of slavery with images of blood, brutality, and babes taken from their mothers. The thing she asks of is to be buried in a land that is free from slavery and will not rest easily if buried in a land where slavery does exist.. She uses to explain that our nation will never be at rest and at peace until slavery is abolished. What I most favored in Frances Harper’s, Songs for the People, was the rhythm, imagery, and wording as well. In this poem, she shows us the influence that songs can have in the individual person and the world itself. I believe she used this poem to make a stand against slavery as well.

  19. The significant abundance made more plentiful during “harvest” are the “fruits” of the “tree” or the “deaths” lead to God taking in our “works” and our “soul” remains with Him. 🙂 Get my picture?

  20. Frances Harper’s poetry was okay, I loved the rhyming though, and the sentiment in the verses concerning slavery; she saw slavery as it was, and exposed it for what it was, but in a way that reflected her sophisticated talent and style.

  21. I just finished reading The Legend of Rip Van Winkle. I wanted to cry. That poor old man got tricked! Maybe the balls were bullets, the men were soldiers, and the thunder was gunfire… huh. It was just a sweet little story 😀 I loved it! I want to give Rip Van Winkle a hug and pet his dog… ❤

  22. I really enjoyed The Legend of Rip Van Winkle. It was a very interesting and well written story that I would like to read again someday. What I thought was funny in this story was the part when Rip said,“I am a poor quiet man, a native of the place, and a loyal subject of the king, God bless him!”
    Here a general shout burst from the by-standers—“A tory! a tory! a spy! a refugee! hustle him! away
    with him!”

  23. I thought The Legend of Rip Van Winkle was actually kind of funny. When I started reading it yesterday it was actually kind of confusing, but that might have just been me and my wondering mind. Thankfully, the lovely Youtube had it on audio! 😀 So I read and listened to it, which helped a lot! I thought it was funny when he found out his wife died and he was actually comforted a bit at that news. He was so scared at coming home to his wife all mad at him! I dont know why I just thought that was funny LOL 😀 and I was funny when he came back and he didn’t know ANYBODY! Like the place was foreign to him. Overall I would probably read it again but use the audio for the whole story.

  24. I liked The Legend of Rip Van Wrinkle because it shows how time goes by so fast. One moment, you are sleeping on your bed, the other moment, you are resting on your deathbed. Not that he did die, but just saying that.

  25. I liked the story of Rip Van Winkle. I like the flow it has, how it goes from him being happy and fine (except for his family and house being in horrible shape) to being in the mountains, making mistakes. It’s kind of like that one night mistake in my eyes, and how one thing can ruin your life, or in his case make time fly by. It was really good. I’d read it again.

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