The Prairies Essay example

686 Words Apr 15th, 2007 3 Pages
The term romantic is defined as "literature depicting emotional matter in an imaginative form" (Morner). Romanticism was a cultural movement in the eighteenth century that had an impact on in many areas including music, art, and literature. The movement that Romanticism put forth was so powerful that today, scholars refer to it as a revolution that took place in rebellion against the austere views of groups like the Puritans from the previous centuries. Many images of nature in the writing at this time, as well as writers, encompass sympathetic interests in the past. One particular piece, William Cullen Bryant's "The Prairies" captures an strong sympathetic look to the past.
In his poem "The Prairies", William Cullen Bryant's exhibits a
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Bryant shows his appreciation for those who come before in saying, "Man's better nature triumphed then." (L 79) After continual expansion of the American colonies, many Indian tribes were forced to leave their native land and move westward. Bryant explains that this had a major impact on the mound people, "The red man came/ The roaming hunter tribes, warlike and fierce, / And the mound-builders vanished from the earth" (L 58-61). Then Bryant becomes extremely compassionate for the vanquished "mound people" when he says, "All—save the piles of earth that hold their bones--/ The platforms where they worshipped unknown gods--/ The barriers which they builded from the soil/ To keep the foe at bay—till o'er the walls/ The wild beleaguerers broke, and one by one, / The strong holds of the plain were forced, and heaped/ With corpses" (L 64-71). After taking over the prairies form the mound people, the Indians then lived peacefully until they again come in contact with the colonists. The colonist way on life is what again forces the Indians to leave because all of the bison had been killed. Later in the poem Bryant then shows sympathetic feelings toward the Indians after their way of life was changed by the colonists when he states, "The white man's face—among Missouri's springs,/ And pools whose issues swell the Oregan,/ He rears his little Venice. In the plains/ The bison feeds no more" (L 95-98). William Cullen Bryant
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