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Paul Revere's Ride

Paul Revere's Ride

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The North Church Tower

Symbol Analysis

The North Church is kind of a spooky place in this poem. It's the biggest landmark we get, and it pokes its head up everywhere. It's an important image in the poem, in part because Longfellow spends so much time on it. We probably get more detail about the tower of the North Church than we do about anything else in the text.

  • Line 9: In this first mention, the tower is just a place to hang a lantern. One of the neat things about the poem is watching how Longfellow keeps coming back to the North Church tower. He makes it more and more complex and resonant, almost turning it into a character.
  • Line 31: Now we start a long section that describes the tower and what it feels like to climb up into it on a dark night. The tower almost seems haunted here. Longfellow drives home that spooky quality with some alliteration in line 36, when he talks about the "masses and moving shapes of shade."
  • Line 65: One last mention of the tower here, which has now taken on a personality of some sort of giant ghost looming over the town. In a way it almost doesn't seem real, a point Longfellow makes clear by calling it "spectral."
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