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The Cremation of Sam McGee

The Cremation of Sam McGee


by Robert Service

The Cremation of Sam McGee Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...

Form and Meter

Let’s tackle the rhyme first, since it’s a really big part of how this poem fits together. The first thing for us to notice is that all of these lines rhyme in the middle (that’s called inte...


Alright, so we only see this working one way. In our minds, the speaker has to be a bow-legged skinny old guy, with a voice like gravel on a tin roof. He’d need a big white mustache and a cigar...


Service is pretty clear about where this poem is set and what the snowy world of the Yukon looks like. It's December in the Arctic and absolutely frigid. But before you decide that the frozen Nort...

Sound Check

This poem has a really distinctive rhythm to it that makes the lines really fun to read. It kind of ambles along, and even when it gets exciting, it doesn’t speed up that much. Try reading it r...

What's Up With the Title?

This one seems pretty straightforward to us. The title tells us about the main event in the poem and who it happens to. Thanks to that heads-up, we start the poem wondering who this Sam McGee is,...

Calling Card

Fun, Accessible Tales of Adventure, Plus Catchy RhymesRobert Service’s poems have been hugely popular with generations of readers. They love the feeling of adventure in his poems, the sense of b...


(2) Sea-Level There are a few tough words sprinkled into "The Cremation of Sam McGee," but for the most part, this should be a fun, easy climb, which is part of what makes it so great.

Brain Snacks

Sex Rating

GNo sex here. Not a bit. Sorry about that.

Shout Outs

Historical ReferencesThe Dawson Trail (line 13) – This was the path that ran along the Yukon River from the town of Whitehorse to the gold fields around Dawson City. That’s a distance of more...

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