Daybreak by H.W. Longfellow is a nature-poem part of West Bengal Board ( WBCHSE ) Class 11 English B syllabus, following are the :
The substance of the poem
The central idea of the poem
Title of the poem
Descriptive/Analytical Type Questions with Answers
SAQ and MCQ with Answers
The substance of the poem – Daybreak | Class 11 English
The poet describes in the poem how the wind takes the responsibility of waking up everything at dawn. Wind emerges from the sea at daybreak and urges the mist to make room for it. It asks the sailors to sail on towards the land. It tells the trees in the forest to unfold their leaves, the wood bird to sing and urges the chanticleers to crow and announce the breaking of dawn. It tells the corn in the cornfields to bow their head to welcome the new day. It urges the belfry tower to ring its bell and announce the day… But when the wind reaches the churchyard it slows down. It utters a sigh for the dead buried there and tells them to lie there as the judgement day has not yet arrived.
Video tutorial explaining the poem – Daybreak by H.W. Longfellow
The central idea of the poem – Daybreak by H.W. Longfellow | Class 11 English
Longfellow in his poem ‘Daybreak’ personifies the wind and gives it the task to wake everyone up at the breaking of the dawn. The poet wants to see a world throbbing with life in the new day. The wind announces the beginning of a new day. The dark night goes away being replaced by a new day full of hope. The wind urges all to wake up and begin their work. It impels the living world to follow the natural course of their daily life. But we also see the same wind asking the dead in the churchyard to lie still as they have already completed their earthly duties. Thus, through the wind, mother nature touches all beings with the message of a new day.
Title of the poem – Daybreak by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The poem ‘Daybreak’ records the journey and activity of the wind that rises out of the sea and heads towards the land. In the course of its journey, it meets the mist of the sea, the ships with the mariners, the forest in the land, the wood bird in the forest, the rooster in the farmhouse the cornfield and the churchyard. Everywhere it goes it urges everyone to awake and arise and announce the beginning of a new day. It asks everyone to welcome the new day which brings new hope along with it. The wind is, therefore, the harbinger of new hope and it refreshes all. It wakes the living world into action. The title of the poem thus highlights the hour when the wind urges all, except the dead to wake up. Daybreak is the time of celebration and everyone should take a part in the procession of light. To celebrate the moment the wind takes the active role to deliver the message of the morning festivity to all. Thus the title of the poem seems to be appropriate.
Probable Descriptive/Analytical Type Questions with Answers from the poem Daybreak (marks 5/words 100)
Question: Narrate the activities of the wind as presented in the poem ‘Daybreak’
Answer: In the poem ‘Daybreak’ The poet presents a beautiful picture of dawn. As soon as the day started the sea wind took the responsibility of announcing the breaking of the day to the world. It urged the mist to make way for it and hailed the mariner’s to sail ‘on’ for a new journey. It went towards the land and pleaded the trees in the forest to spread all their droopy leaves to welcome the day. It awoke the wood bird to sing a song for the new morning. It told the rooster to announce the day by crowing at its loudest. While blowing through the cornfields the wind requested the corns to bow their head to welcome the new morn. It rushed through the belfry tower and insisted the bell to proclaim the hour. However, when it crossed the churchyard, it slowed down not to disturb the dead who are buried there. Rather it advised them to rest in serenity as their time waking was not yet come.
Question:’It crossed the churchyard with a sigh’- who crossed the churchyard with a sigh? What did he say in this place? Why did it sigh and behave differently in the churchyard?
Answer: The wind rose from the sea in the poem ‘Daybreak’ , and after crossing through the sea and rushing through the land it finally slowed down in the churchyard with a sigh.
The wind slowed down in the churchyard not to disturb the dead who are already buried there. It advised them to lie still as their time of waking had not yet come.
Coming to the churchyard the wind slowed down as it realised that the dead buried over there were lying still waiting for the Judgement day. For the deceased, it was not a moment of celebrating but eternal wait so the wind behaved differently there.
Question: How does Longfellow personify the wind in his poem ’Daybreak’?
Answer: Personification means attributing human characteristics to inanimate objects and things. In this poem, the poet personifies the wind which rises from the sea at the breaking of the dawn. The wind proclaims the beginning of the day and impels nature to follow its natural course. It reminds them of their duties for the day. The wind is also sympathetic and seems tobe realistic towards dead people. It does not bother them and urges them to lie in peace as the Judgement Day has not yet come. With these human attributes and activities, the poet personifies the wind.
Question: Consider Longfellow as a poet of nature with reference to the poem ‘Daybreak’.
Answer: Longfellow’s poem the ‘Daybreak’ is basically a nature poem where a beautiful morning with all its grandeur is presented exquisitely. Nature with its splendour and majestic dignity is presented in the lines of the poem.
The poet starts with the description of the sea which is full of mist, where a wind rises and makes way towards the land through the mist. The drooping leaves of the forest trees get life with the rushing wind which sways them. The poem not only soothes the eyes but enthrals the ears with natural sounds. The exotic wood bird sings announcing the day. The rooster crows welcoming the morning. The heads of corns sway in the breeze. The poet seems to celebrate nature in the poem and successfully does so with his simple pictorial details.
Question: Consider ‘Daybreak’ as a symbolic poem.
Answer: Longfellow’s ‘Daybreak’ is a fine specimen of symbolic poetry. On the surface, the poem is concerned with the breaking of the day. This daybreak symbolises the beginning of new hope. Out of the darkness of the night comes the day with a ray of hope. The wind is the harbinger of this new hope. The wind overcomes the barrier of mist and reaches every corner with a new message. The wind stands for determination and its forward march marks the march of civilization. The waking up of the ‘mariners’ stand for progress and prosperity. The ‘leafy banners’, the ‘fields of corn’, ‘ships’, etc stand for economic prosperity. The sound of chanticleers, the song of the wood bird, and ‘bell’ of the ‘belfry tower’ are sounds of joy at the beginning of a new day. ‘Bow’ suggests the embracing of a new day with high hope and admiration.