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If u hve time, please help me correcting my gramar!
Posted by: TinaLe (
Date: April 26, 2003 04:42PM

This is my analysis lanuge of the poem, please give me your opinions and also help me correct all the mistakes that you catch. Thank you very much.

Burry Me in a Free Land is one of Frances E. W. Harpers’ poems that I choose to analyze. This poem is its chosen because title interested me, and the language looks simple and formal than some of the other poems. In addition, Harper did not use too many archaic words in her writing, so I thought it might be easier for me to understand and to analyze than the others might. In this poem, she did not use any inverted syntax. Harper used eight four-line stanzas, and they are couplets rhyme. They are also iambic pertameter.

Although Harper did not use any kind of archaic or elevated diction of language, her poem is still hard to understand at some points. For example, the words “coffle gang” in the second line of the third stanza and in the last sentence of the fifth stanza, “bound afresh”, I was wondering what they meant. In the first line of the ninth stanza, it got my attention because she used the word “bloated” very strange: “I would sleep, dear friends, where bloated might.” I was curious why she used the word “bloated” in this sentence; until this point, I do not have an answer for my inquisitiveness, yet I think it is interesting. Another example that she did not write in literally is the word “arrest” from the second line of the last stanza. These are the two has effected on my reading most. It is also motivating that she lets us see the pain and terror of slavery, words that stood out: “blood hounds seizing their human prey” “young girls from their mothers arms bartered and sold for their youthful charms.” By her comparison between the “mother’s shriek” as “a curse on the trembling air,” and “babes torn” with “like trembling doves from their parent nest,” Harper lets us see the pain and terror of slavery, and the phrases would send quivers up anybody’s spine.

The content of this poem is like a play because all the tragedies appear in my thoughts along as I read. In this poem, Harper is taking on herself as the key speaker because she expresses her hatred against the institution of slavery and protests inequality among people. She not only wants to be buried in a land without slaves but also wants slavery to never return again. By reading the title, Bury me in a free land, most of us know she is telling us right away that slavery is a very bad thing. She wants to be buried in a land where there was no slavery. In the first stanza, Harper wants to tell us that slavery is wrong and that there is nothing worse than slavery. She says that she would rather be buried in the “humblest of earth’s graves” than be buried in a land where slavery reigned. She is speaking of equality for all and slavery gone and never returning. In the second, third and four stanzas, she repeats, “I could not” three times in a roll to make very strong and significant point of view that she is speaking against prejudice and discrimination. However, she also used the allusion to make us think about the tragedies happening to the slaves more than bringing up her point in these three stanzas.

I think this poem does an outstanding job of getting inside the mind of a slave. One can clearly feel the fear of a slave in this poem because Harper masterly uses diction to portray slavery. During her life time, the slaves, and herself, could not tell people what they wanted, so Harper wrote this poem for two reasons. She wants to tell us that the slaves could write the perfect poems like anyone else; secondly, she uses this poem to speak up for herself and on the behalf other thousands of other slaves that they would rather be out of the bounds of slavery.


Re: If u hve time, please help me correcting my gramar!
Posted by: Hugh Clary (
Date: April 26, 2003 05:14PM

Personally, I don't think the speaker is a slave, but I enjoyed your other points.

Typos on bury and pentameter, btw.

Re: If u hve time, please help me correcting my gramar!
Posted by: Marian-NYC (
Date: April 28, 2003 12:04PM

Dear TinaLe,

Your meaning is very clear throughout, so don't worry too much about your grammar. A lot of students post here because they have no idea where to begin when they have to analyze a poem. Your essay is a good example because you very simply discuss the poem's EFFECT ON YOU, and how the poet's CHOICES (words) created that effect.

Here are some corrections, since you asked:

"and they are couplets rhyme"
CHANGE TO "of rhyming couplets"

pertameter: pentameter

"In the first line of the ninth stanza, it got my attention"
CHANGE TO "The first line of the ninth stanza got my attention"

"These are the two has effected on my reading most"
CHANGE TO "These two HAVE effected my reading the most"\

"to make very strong and significant point of view"
POINT (not point of view)

Re: If u hve time, please help me correcting my gramar!
Posted by: Tinale (
Date: April 28, 2003 12:24PM

Dear Marian:

Thank you very much for your help. I am very appreciated it because you helped me how to start to write, and change it to make a better paper. Have a good day Marian.


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