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The Somerset

Symbol Analysis

The big, tough British warship that Paul rows by. It really only gets a quick appearance, but it's a major moment in the poem, and it leaves a mark. We hear a lot about the British, but we don't actually see them much in the poem. This is one spot where we really feel the danger of the British army. If Paul and his lanterns symbolize freedom, the ship represents the opposite, standing in for harassment and bullying.

  • Line 19: The Somerset is one of many ghosts in the poem, a "phantom ship" as Longfellow puts it. It's here to represent the threat of the British, and this is clarified with a simile that compares the masts and poles of the ship to "prison bars."

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