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Paul Revere's Ride

Paul Revere's Ride


by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Analysis: Setting

Where It All Goes Down

So if you'll bear with us, we imagine this whole poem taking place on the floor during kindergarten story time. You know the scene because you've been there. A ratty old rug on a hard linoleum floor. All the kids are sitting in a circle, and the teacher is balanced on one of those tiny orange plastic kid's chairs. Everyone has had snack, so they are a little sleepy. The words echo in the quiet classroom as the sun streams through the window.

Why do we imagine this setting? This poem is about getting together, sharing a story, listening and absorbing it as a group. This may happen sometimes when we are adults, but the peak of story time is when you're a kid. That's when words can completely light up your imagination, when you give yourself over to the story. That's why the speaker puts us in this setting from the beginning with his "Listen, my children." He wants us back there, on that carpet, finishing a juice box, totally ready to listen.

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