Ignoring the eight-line opening, the poem follows a regular pattern of four-line stanzas composed of two rhyming couplets. For Service, these mini-choruses set the tone and establish the mood of the verse they bracket. A website featuring the work of Tom Byrne, an actor who has performed the works of Robert W. Service for more than 20 years, can be found at. Encyclopedia.com. This also makes to take the form of an epic poem. After making his way to the ship, Cap uses planks and coal remnants to build a fire in the ship’s boiler. When Cap does stop for the night, he wraps himself tight in his robes and buries himself in the snow. Imagism flourished in Britain and in the United States for a brief period that is generally considered to be somewhere between 1909 a…, The Creative Center: Narrative Description, The Criminal Jury System Is the Best Means to Secure Justice, The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz, The Criswell College: Narrative Description, http://www.interchange.ubc.ca/service/index.htm, https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/cremation-sam-mcgee. McGee sitting up and smiling. No one should underestimate the brilliance of a poet, Service included, but it is worth noting that “The Cremation of Sam Mcgee” would not be as strong in a different poetic form. 3, July, 1909, pp. Even before Service uses the word “cold,” he chills the reader by introducing the “midnight sun,” “the Arctic trails,” and “the Northern Lights.” The inclusion of icy Lake LaBarge reinforces the feeling of coldness. Service introduces Sam McGee. Sam’s earlier insistence for cremation is also transformed from a morbid request to a signal that nothing untoward will happen. Edward Hirsch, for example, reads the Yukon ballads as a closed structure opposing Dionysian and Apollonian (body and mind) elements in human behavior. In 1910, Service made his way to Toronto and New York to arrange for the publication of his novel, The Trail of ‘98. The opening and closing lines follow the same metrical and rhyming patterns of the narrative stanzas, but Service reconfigures them into eight-line stanzas and puts them in italics to create a mood of mystery and suspense at the beginning, and comic irony at the end. It might offer an explanation of the spell of the land that holds men like Sam. 1956 “The Cremation of Sam McGee” includes a number of literary devices that make it more effective as a piece of poetry. This element of redemption and salvation negates the power of death even in the hostile and unforgiving cold of the Arctic. CRITICAL OVERVIEW He says “he’d ‘sooner live in hell’,” but this land of gold holds him “like a spell.” Interestingly, it is “the land of gold,” not the gold itself, that has this strange hold on Sam McGee. Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows. The cremation of Sam McGee Based on the tone of the poem, the speaker would most likely describe the Arctic setting as_____ A. paradise B. darkly captivating C. evil D. pure and honest “It wasn’t much fun,” adds the speaker, and the other mush-ers recognize the hazards of this way of life. The story of the speaker and Sam Mcgee (who was from Tennessee) who travel the Yukon during the Klondike gold rush just would not hold as strong of voice and tone in, say, a free verse style. Look back through the poem and notice the many descriptions of the setting. Peter Viereck 1948 … We’ve got Robert W. Service to thank for that. Vintage photographs from the Klondike days add a sense of realism. The poem shows in a humorous way the effect of keeping a promise. The tone of this poem is mournful because the speaker is expressing sorrow as he feels his friend is going to dies. He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell; Though he'd often say in his homely way that he'd "sooner live in hell". Author Biography When he sees a timber boat nearby, however, … Sam asks Cap to cremate his body is he dies, Cap agrees to cremate him. “There are strange” (the anapest foot) “things done” (the iambic foot) “in the midnight sun” (a second set of an anapest foot followed by an iambic foot). Service does this well in the ballad form, and it’s for all the reasons discussed above that the poem is known as an important work of literature. . CRITICISM So, as his dying wish, he asks our speaker to cremate him (which is a fancy way of saying "burn his … His most famous ballad, “The Shooting of Dan McGrew,” is a serious tale of intrigue and treachery ending with the deaths of McGrew and the stranger who did the shooting. Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. The poem’s speaker tells us a story about his friend, Sam McGee, who freezes to death on the trail. Provides an overview of Service’s work and leads to other critical sources. 342-348. Service’s obituary in the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph of September 16, 1958, stated: “He was a people’s poet. Compose a poem that mimics the rhythm and rhyme of “The Cremation of Sam McGee.” You might use a title such as “The Citation of Tommy B” or “The Vacation of. Poetry Review: The Cremation of Sam McGee. 2002 The Cremation of Sam McGee Summary. A ballad is a poetic form that tells a tale, usually in a very rhythmic fashion. Sam tells Cap to shut the door so as not to let in the cold. Rather, he learned of the 1898 Gold Rush through conversations with old-timers and the research of old records. The twist of the final line of stanza 14 elicits a nod of admiration to Service for evoking humor from a man “freezing to death.”. Retrieved January 12, 2021 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/cremation-sam-mcgee. “The Cremation of Sam McGee” is an elegant poem crafted at the skilled hands of a celebrated Canadian poet Robert W. Service, but the measurement of skill in a poet’s ability should surpass the common elements of poetry like imagery, simile, diction, and metaphor. “The Cremation of Sam McGee” is written in the form of a ballad. The first nine stanzas of “The Cremation of Sam McGee” discuss at length the problem of survival in the Arctic wilderness. In October of 1903, Service returned to the banking industry with the Canadian Bank of Commerce in Victoria, British Columbia. When they arrive at “the marge of Lake Lebarge” the narrator finds an old, derelict steam boat, an image of death and ruin. That is an unpleasant task in any climate, but set that action in the Yukon and the significance becomes more apparent. His verses reflect his personal search for balance between the social life of the mining camps and the solitude of the north woods. An anapest foot is a three syllable foot with two unaccented and one accented syllables. In addition to his writing, Service entertained by reciting the works of Rudyard Kipling, Ernest Lawrence Thayer (“Casey at the Bat”), as well as his own rhymes and ballads. The first line is a good example of this. They don’t complain, but Sam not only complains, he “whimpers.”. This poem has a very artistic look on wording, imagery, and emotion and does not hold back from expressing all of them. The Incineration of Sam McGee opens with a stanza that builds up the tone of the work, giving it a secretive air that the accompanying story will at that point unwind. By 1931, the family had moved to Nice, France. Cinematic adaptations of some of his poems received mixed reviews. The mood of the first half … Peter Viereck’s “Kilroy” appeared in his first collection of poetry, Terror and Decorum: Poems 1940–1948, published…, c. 1789 sung by Europeans in the early fourteenth century. exposition. STYLE There is no specific mention, but the reader could assume at least one of the dogs would share the snow cave with Cap, their bodies providing the heat. are not filled with deep symbolism; rather, they are straightforward explications of a story, serious or comedic. The final line of the stanza (“I cremated Sam McGee.”) suggests a violent end to Sam McGee and the involvement of the speaker in that death. The first nine stanzas of “The Cremation of Sam McGee” discuss at length the problem of survival in the Arctic wilderness. An important aspect of Service’s style is the generous use of dialogue. Service used this same publication practice in other verses, including “The Ballad of One-eyed Mike.” Such stanzas function like the choruses of ancient Greek dramas. FURT…, Omen The flow and uses of gold became much more controlled than in those frenzied “Wild West” days that glamorized the settling of once open territory. B It emphasizes the heat in Tennessee in the summer. Why he left his home in the South to roam 'round the Pole, God only knows. What does the hot sweat on the cheek of the narrator represent? On his return trip Service visited his family, who had settled in northern Alberta, then set out alone on a perilous journey of more than two thousand miles to Dawson by canoe through wilderness waterways. There is little description of the landscape, the weather, or anything else in this section unless it refers to the frozen body of Sam McGee. Likewise, a character of “The Cremation of Sam McGee” poses a rather similar character trait as well. ." Service does this well in the ballad form, and it’s for all the reasons discussed above that the poem is known as an important work of literature. This section begins by suggesting the oppressive bleakness of the previous nine stanzas will continue. The other speaker is, of course, the Raven. In this opening stanza, Service sets a mood of mystery and suspense. Instead, they offer background or other information that helps the reader understand the literary work more completely. XVII, No. Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Apparently this cremation happened on the "marge" (that just … is an elegant poem crafted at the skilled hands of a celebrated Canadian poet Robert W. Service, but the measurement of skill in a poet’s ability should surpass the common elements of poetry like imagery, simile, diction, and metaphor. Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. “The Cremation of Sam McGee” is an elegant poem crafted at the skilled hands of a celebrated Canadian poet Robert W. Service, but the measurement of skill in a poet’s ability should surpass the common elements of poetry like imagery, simile, diction, and metaphor. but is there another element at play with this piece that sears the poem into one’s memory? Even when you’re as tough as the guys in "The Cremation of Sam McGee" seem to be, it’s a pretty rough life up in the Yukon. Use a camping supplies catalog (such as L.L.Bean’s or Cabela’s) to determine weight as well as cost. Comparable to the traveler who stopped at nothing from keeping his promise, the speaker of “The Cremation of Sam McGee” is left alone, and he knows he has made a promise that he must keep. Introduction Sam is frozen solid, and Cap, the speaker, appears to be fighting a descent into madness. Mowery holds a Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University in Rhetoric and Composition and American Literature. . SOURCES The US and Spain have completed their war, but a Mexican Revolution is brewing, there is unrest in the Balkans, and Korea is annexed by Japan. Sam has to depend on Cap’s loyalty to follow through on his last request. he's nervous. CRITICISM A tale of travel in the north woods would not be complete without mention of the dogs that pull the sleds. Throughout the poem, the author establishes a determined tone through his word choice. T stuffed in Sam McGee. "' Praised in 1921 for their spontaneity and liveliness, Service’s rhymes have most often been lauded for their energy but criticized for their lack of “true” emotion. Additional elements, no breath in the land of death, tired dogs howling their woes, a low food supply, a bad trail, and the near-madness of Cap coupled with the grin of the frozen corpse all contribute to a dark picture of despair and misery. The activities of stanza 12 echo the despair of stanzas 6,7 and 8, with scowling heavens, howling winds, and icy cold. Before the poem’s climax, Service takes a brief pause, a two-stanza caesura. Robert Service was living in the Yukon during the 1896 gold rush when the wrote “The Cremation Of Sam McGee” and the poem was published 1907. Service and his family returned to Europe in 1946 and took up residence in Monte Carlo. Sam McGee is a man from Tennessee who finds himself in the snowy tundra of Alaska searching for gold. We get a lot of different descriptions of suffering in this poem, most of them having to do with how bloody cold it is. rising action. Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. It was there that he was exposed to the rough and tumble world of the gold miners and other outdoorsmen of the Canadian northwest. The last scenes, as the narrator builds a huge fire into which he puts Sam McGee’s frozen corpse, combine cold and hot: “It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled / down my cheeks.”. The story of a youth shipwrecked on an iceberg in the Arctic in 1757 with only a. and holds it consistently throughout every quatrain. The previous six stanzas presented such a palpable presence of the cold that it remains with the reader even though there are no further references to it until stanza 12. Kellner, Bruce, “Robert Service; Overview” in Reference Guide to English Literature, edited by D.L. By nightfall, Sam is a frozen corpse. The strength of this poem lies within the poetic form, the ballad. From 1919 to 1929, Service and his wife lived in Paris, where their only child, a daughter named Iris, was born. coo/ and calm.. 12. AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY The rhyme pattern of the present verse is abcb defe and the meter is a lilting iambic pattern, with four and three beats in alternating lines. Service continued to publish and remain active until his death from a heart attack on September 11, 1958. I Yes, the content is appealing. An obvious reflection of Service’s youth in the Yukon is much reliance on images of the north county, including the northern lights (the Aurora Borealis), sparkling stars, scowling heavens, and the sky seen through the smoke of a fire. It just makes their styles different. Service’s ballad-form poem sets up a rhyme scheme (. ) POEM TEXT A Bruccoli Clark Layman Book. It’s not delivery, its Delissio, Not only will we pay you with a cheque, we’ll pay you with “exposure”, As soon as eyes read, or ears hear, that famous opening line, the brain slides into its automatic rhythm. For nine months the book topped the best-seller lists in the United States. In “The Cremation of Sam McGee,” many of the important parts of the story are carried along by the spoken words of its two characters, the unnamed narrator and Sam McGee. In 1940, Service and his family returned to Canada, but they soon moved to Hollywood to be close to the film industry. Perhaps, a more efficient method when measuring a poet’s skill should reflect upon on how well they showcase poetics … Suffering. Some might say this poem is about salvation, but that argument would be difficult to make. After Sam … ...The Cremation of Sam McGee by Robert Service is an incredible example of a narrative ballad. Also, there is a pessimistic tone because Sam McGee believes he is not going to make it. Expelled three years later for defying the drillmaster, Service was apprenticed at age fifteen to a branch of the Commercial Bank of Scotland, where he stayed until 1896. Even with hardships brought on by some of the world’s most unforgiving weather, prospectors managed to extract small and large fortunes in gold from the region. At www.rwservice.com, Les McLaughlin, Tracey Brown and Randall Prescott have produced a CD of Service’s work set to music. The narrator has given his word to Sam and then endures severe hardships in order to keep his word. Research the environmental impact of each of these processes. The intro stanza is written without an end rhyme scheme, but instead contains two stressed words in each line to prep the reader for the rhythm that awaits in the quatrains. There are strange things done in the midnight sun - The Academy of American Poets is the largest membership-based nonprofit organization fostering an appreciation for contemporary poetry and supporting American poets. The deathly cold is but one element. The continuing appeal of the poems about Sam McGee and Dan McGrew, however, rests not in any intellectual paradigm they employ but in the sly humor and metrical regularity that initially made them so readily adaptable to parlor performance. When Emily’s father died and left a bequest of ten thousand pounds, the family moved to Glasgow, Scotland. “The Cremation of Sam McGee” presents an interesting look into the life of prospectors. By the time Service publishes “The Cremation of Sam McGee” and embarks on his new career as a writer of verse, Klondike fever has evaporated and the attention of the world has turned to other matters. Perhaps, a more efficient method when measuring a poet’s skill should reflect upon on how well they showcase poetics in form poetry. Tone is a writer’s or speaker’s attitude toward the subject. Why is it such a successful poem even so many years later? C It suggests a tone of distress. It was published in 1907 in Songs of a Sourdough. Long distances between pockets of civilization and extreme loneliness also factor into how one survives in this environment. . There is no mention in this poem of Cap and Sam’s particular search for treasure. In stanzas 4 and 5, Sam refers to “cash[ing] in” and makes his “last request.” The fear of the “icy grave” prompts him to exact the promise that Cap will “cremate [his] last remains.”. THEMES "The Cremation of Sam McGee He is pleased to see it and determines to use its furnace as the crematorium. For Cap, that means to keep moving. While they are important to the telling of the story, they are not directly connected to it. “The Cremation of Sam McGee” opens with a stanza that establishes the tone of the work, giving it a mysterious air that the following tale will then unravel. “The Cremation of Sam McGee” reflects Robert W. Service’s knowledge of the Yukon territory, where he lived much of his early adult life. It appears that Cap makes the travels alone, with no other companions than the dogs. POEM SUMMARY The Cremation of Sam McGee By Robert W. Service About this Poet Born in Lancashire, England to a bank cashier and an heiress, poet Robert William Service moved to Scotland at the age of five, living with his grandfather and three aunts until his parents moved to … Poetry for Students. In other verses, like “The Shooting of Dan McGrew,” several speakers are active in telling the tale. FRANK BIDART It concerns the cremation of a prospector who freezes to death near Lake Laberge (spelled "Lebarge" by Service), Yukon, Canada, as told by the man who cremates him. Form “The Cremation of Sam McGee” is a ballad. Choose six words with the best connotation to best represent the setting of The Cremation of Sam McGee. “a folk tale of unquestioned natural vitality.” Phelps further distinguished between readers with literary pretensions (who dismissed Service’s sentimentality, metronomic rhythms, simplicity, and limited range) and those who used these same criteria to praise his verse for being memorable, recitable, and sympathetic to ordinary people. On a bitter cold Christmas Day, Sam exacts a promise from Cap: to cremate his remains when he dies. STUDY. He is described as “horror-driven” in stanza 7; he curses “that load” in stanza 8; he talks of the “quiet clay” growing “heavy and heavier,” and that he “felt half mad.” He even refers to the corpse as a “hateful thing” at the end of stanza 9. Sound clips are available at the website. Blue Frog Records, which can be found at www.bluefrogmusic.com, presents an album of songs inspired by the poetry of Robert W. Service, titled. Historical Context On the other hand, is the searing effect a combination of a fine poet, but also the aid of a certain poetic form? Because the location was so remote and getting to the strike was a difficult journey, it wasn’t until 1898 that the “gold rush” actually began in. Source: Carl Mowery, in an essay for Poetry for Students, Gale, 2001. When he can no longer refrain from avoiding the fire and is curious about how the cremation is progressing, he opens the door and sees Sam sitting up. Mossman, Tam, The Best of Robert Service, ed., Running Press, 1990. But in contrast to this biting cold, the poem also reflects on Sam’s home state, Tennessee, and the warmth that Sam remembers there. There, the cold is brought in as a contrast to the hot sweat Cap is experiencing, an emotional and physical reaction to having built the “cre-ma-tor-uem” and putting the body of his friend in it. In 1913, Service arrived in Paris. As you read “Courage” and “The Cremation of Sam McGee,” think about the overall tone of each poem. ." Correct answers: 2 question: The cremation of Sam McGee Based on the tone of the poem, the speaker would most likely describe the Arctic setting as A. paradise B. A little more than eighteen months later, he headed for California. Vol. By using words like strange, midnight, and secret, and phrases like “make your blood run cold,” “queer sights,” and “the queerest I ever did see,” the reader anticipates that something unnerving will occur. On August 17, 1975, the Canadian Postal Service paid tribute to Robert Service with an eight cent stamp. Cap’s arrival at the shores of Lake Lebarge signals a shift in mood and action. A 12-minute short film, directed by Bob Jacobs, was released in 1982 by The Film Farm and distributed by EBE. Sam says, “Please close that door … it’s the first time I’ve been warm.” Out of cold and death now rise warmth and life! The annual output of gold reached a peak of 22 million dollars in 1900. When Cap returns later to the ship, he opens the furnace door to find Sam. Throughout the poem, Cap is active, moving across the ice and snow. Cremation is the name for burning a dead body to ashes, rather than burying it in the ground. The stunning visual beauty of the night sky (“the stars o’erhead were dancing heel and toe”) might be overlooked in these stanzas is. He is buried in the Brittany region of France. Poetry for Students. The first thing that we might want to discuss is rhyme scheme. In the first and last stanzas, Service uses two words that now seem odd, “marge” and “moil,” that these words were commonly used at the beginning of the century but have since fallen out of use. The poem is about a freezing-cold winter trip in the Yukon, back in the days of the Klondike Gold Rush. We’ve got Robert W. Service to thank for that. But most of the feel of the north is revealed through the constant references to the cold—the cold that “stabbed like a driven nail,” the cold that froze their lashes shut, and the cold that froze the grinning, departed Sam McGee on the way to the Lake. Wanting to honor his friend’s final request, Cap hauls the frozen body of Sam McGee across the frozen land. FURTHER READI…, Kilroy Service deserves a high-level of praise for his level of poetic skill, showcased in his legendary piece. (January 12, 2021). Critical Overvi…, Howl The Original Homepage of Robert W. Service, www.ude.net/service/service.html (March 20, 2000). He hated the cold and a man promised him that he would cremate his body so that his spirit would be warm. He appears to have no particular destination, but no particular place he can use for shelter or refuge either. In turn, this makes the actions of either the speaker of the poem or the character Sam McGee more immediate, memorable, and the reader is grounded in the plot of the poem with the characters. The frozen corpse of Sam McGee is the most obvious. Themes Get a curated list of articles sent directly to your email once a week. Also, the dancing stars echo the Northern Lights of the opening stanza and foreshadow the flames of Sam’s “crematorium.”. “The only society I like,” he once said, “is that which is rough and tough—and the tougher the better. earnest. The oldest of ten children (Service had six brothers and three sisters), Service was sent to live with three maiden aunts and his paternal grandfather. Couple that with a landscape covered in snow where many landmarks can be obliterated with a mere shift of the wind, not to mention a full-blown blizzard, and the search for gold becomes more a tale of survival than adventure. In this task you will read and analyze Robert W. Service’s narrative poem “The Cremation of Sam McGee.” This poem is a frontier ballad that describes the hardships of the life of prospectors in the Yukon, a region in Northwest Canada where many prospectors traveled during the Klondike Gold Rush in the late 1890s. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. There is also a helpful glossary of the more exotic words and phrases Service uses in his poems. AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY Style In his autobiography, Service claims to have worked as a tunnel builder in Oakland, a handyman in a San Diego brothel, and a guitar-playing singer in Colorado. PLAY. Kirkpatrick, St. James Press, 1991. 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Setting of the gold Rush Rush through conversations with old-timers and the warmth of Sam McGee ”. The night watchman he was exposed to the sled as he feels his friend, Sam is frozen solid and. Study tools Edward VII reigns as King of England the extra syllables until his from! Made to Sam and Cap, the Raven exacts a promise filled with symbolism. The Yukon. honor Sam ’ s help, Sam McGee - there are things... Returned with a broken spirit and empty pockets the plot watchman he a. S demise narrative poem, Cap is active, moving across the land. With flashcards, games, and the meaning of keeping promises were an of! Of death seems frustrated by Sam, or angry at the end of,! Or tragic begins like, ” though, and it seems like hurt! Shot at Service, ed., Running Press, 1990 an interesting into. Such a successful poem even so many years later 2021 from Encyclopedia.com: https: //www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/cremation-sam-mcgee, the.

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