The Song of Hiawatha The Song of Hiawatha discussion


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Dandelion allegory

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message 1: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Bargas How do we interpret this passage? Is it an allegory?

“Poor, deluded Shawondasee!
'T was no woman that you gazed at,
'T was no maiden that you sighed for,
'T was the prairie dandelion
That through all the dreamy Summer
You had gazed at with such longing,
You had sighed for with such passion,
And had puffed away forever,
Blown into the air with sighing.
Ah! deluded Shawondasee!”


message 2: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Bargas I was thinking something like that. Perhaps also a lesson about living in the present, i.e. Instead of just staring at the dandelion, he should have enjoyed it while it was still there. Instead he waited too long, and it was gone.
Or take advantage of you youth while you still have it. Do the things you want to do while you still can. Some day old age will step in and you will no longer be able.


message 3: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Bargas And another possible interpretation: The dandelion represented what he thought was his true love, but in reality the dandelion was flighty, and didn't share his sense of commitment, so poof..she was gone.


message 4: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Bargas Well, here's the part of the poem leading up to it. Since Shawondasse was one of the winds of heaven, I would think he was the one who blew away the dandelion:

"Thus was Mudjekeewis chosen
Father of the Winds of Heaven.
For himself he kept the West-Wind,
Gave the others to his children;
Unto Wabun gave the East-Wind,
Gave the South to Shawondasee,
And the North-Wind, wild and cruel,
To the fierce Kabibonokka....
...Listless, careless Shawondasee!
In his life he had one shadow,
In his heart one sorrow had he.
Once, as he was gazing northward,
Far away upon a prairie
He beheld a maiden standing,
Saw a tall and slender maiden
All alone upon a prairie;
Brightest green were all her garments,
And her hair was like the sunshine.
Day by day he gazed upon her,
Day by day he sighed with passion,
Day by day his heart within him
Grew more hot with love and longing
For the maid with yellow tresses.
But he was too fat and lazy
To bestir himself and woo her.
Yes, too indolent and easy
To pursue her and persuade her;
So he only gazed upon her,
Only sat and sighed with passion
For the maiden of the prairie.
Till one morning, looking northward,
He beheld her yellow tresses
Changed and covered o'er with whiteness,
Covered as with whitest snow-flakes.
"Ah! my brother from the North-land,
From the kingdom of Wabasso,
From the land of the White Rabbit!
You have stolen the maiden from me,
You have laid your hand upon her,
You have wooed and won my maiden,
With your stories of the North-land!"
Thus the wretched Shawondasee
Breathed into the air his sorrow;
And the South-Wind o'er the prairie
Wandered warm with sighs of passion,
With the sighs of Shawondasee,
Till the air seemed full of snow-flakes,
Full of thistle-down the prairie,
And the maid with hair like sunshine
Vanished from his sight forever;
Never more did Shawondasee
See the maid with yellow tresses!"


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