While Arthur Phelps recoiled from the “grotesque gruesomeness” of “The Cremation of Sam McGee,” he also claimed that the poem was, “At the word “sizzle,” in stanza 12, the thaw of the poem begins.”. Without Cap’s help, Sam will die. The Cremation of Sam McGee* by Robert W. Service Synopsis Sam McGee, from Tennessee, finds himself in the far reaches of the frozen north in the Yukon Territory. Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows. “There are strange” (the anapest foot) “things done” (the iambic foot) “in the midnight sun” (a second set of an anapest foot followed by an iambic foot). On the other hand, is the searing effect a combination of a fine poet, but also the aid of a certain poetic form? Form “The Cremation of Sam McGee” is a ballad. His ballads vibrate with the sounds and smells of the frontier saloons, with the piano playing in the background, the men and women talking and arguing, and the occasional gun fight erupting. earnest. And at one important moment even McGee’s corpse seems to speak. Robert Service was living in the Yukon during the 1896 gold rush when the wrote “The Cremation Of Sam McGee” and the poem was published 1907. The dancing stars, however, replace the death images with one of delight and amusement, cleverly anticipating the poem’s unforgettable ending. The poem’s speaker tells us a story about his friend, Sam McGee, who freezes to death on the trail. Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA). The Cremation of Sam McGee "The Cremation of Sam McGee" is among the most famous of Robert W. Service's (1874–1958) poems. The rhyme pattern of the present verse is abcb defe and the meter is a lilting iambic pattern, with four and three beats in alternating lines. CRITICAL OVERVIEW The US and Spain have completed their war, but a Mexican Revolution is brewing, there is unrest in the Balkans, and Korea is annexed by Japan. With the end of the gold rush period, mining was largely taken over by corporations and governments. Sam says he’d “sooner live in hell” in stanza 2, and the speaker talks of the cold that stabs “like a driven nail” in stanza 3. We’ve got Robert W. Service to thank for that. The speaker appears to be driven to the brink of madness. The unnerving images of Lake Lebarge, and the secret tales of the Arctic have lost their power to chill. His most famous ballad, “The Shooting of Dan McGrew,” is a serious tale of intrigue and treachery ending with the deaths of McGrew and the stranger who did the shooting. Service continued to publish and remain active until his death from a heart attack on September 11, 1958. ALLEN GINSBERG Edited by W. H. New, University of British Columbia. Sam hates the cold and doesn’t want to be buried in the frozen ground. So, as his dying wish, he asks our speaker to cremate him (which is a fancy way of saying "burn his … ." seriousness of the fight for survival in the unforgiving Yukon. Blue Frog Records, which can be found at www.bluefrogmusic.com, presents an album of songs inspired by the poetry of Robert W. Service, titled. There is also a helpful glossary of the more exotic words and phrases Service uses in his poems. He appears to have no particular destination, but no particular place he can use for shelter or refuge either. When he sees a timber boat nearby, however, … sung by Europeans in the early fourteenth century. Look back through the poem and notice the many descriptions of the setting. Service’s ballad-form poem sets up a rhyme scheme (. ) Cremation is the name for burning a dead body to ashes, rather than burying it in the ground. “There are strange things done in the midnight sun…”. POEM TEXT There is little description of the landscape, the weather, or anything else in this section unless it refers to the frozen body of Sam McGee. More recent critics have attempted to isolate the folk-poetry features of his work and to analyze his structural patterns. Wanting to honor his friend’s final request, Cap hauls the frozen body of Sam McGee across the frozen land. When Cap does stop for the night, he wraps himself tight in his robes and buries himself in the snow. Rather, he learned of the 1898 Gold Rush through conversations with old-timers and the research of old records. By 1910 most of the population had left for Alaska and other regions. Service had gone into a bank where he worked during the day looking for a quiet place to write. In addition to his writing, Service entertained by reciting the works of Rudyard Kipling, Ernest Lawrence Thayer (“Casey at the Bat”), as well as his own rhymes and ballads. What information do we early in the poem that is important to the plot? The Gale Group, 1990, pp. Edward Hirsch, for example, reads the Yukon ballads as a closed structure opposing Dionysian and Apollonian (body and mind) elements in human behavior. Thus, he requests to be cremated. First, Sam states that he will “cash in this trip,” adding, “I guess,” which suggests more finality than uncertainty. B It emphasizes the heat in Tennessee in the summer. The smile that Sam wears is far warmer (pun intended) than the grin his frozen corpse displayed back in stanza 9. “The only society I like,” he once said, “is that which is rough and tough—and the tougher the better. T stuffed in Sam McGee. "' CRITICAL OVERVIEW Yes, Sam McGee dies in the poem "The Cremation of Sam McGee". By the time Service publishes “The Cremation of Sam McGee” and embarks on his new career as a writer of verse, Klondike fever has evaporated and the attention of the world has turned to other matters. Kellner, Bruce, “Robert Service; Overview” in Reference Guide to English Literature, 2nd ed., edited by D. L. Kirkpatrick, St. James Press, 1991. Wiles teaches and writes in the shadow of Vermont’s Green Mountains. Out on the derelict (dead) boat he builds a fire into which he puts Sam. But in contrast to this biting cold, the poem also reflects on Sam’s home state, Tennessee, and the warmth that Sam remembers there. The unexpected sight of Sam McGee sitting in the middle of the fire presents a far more comic image than the scriptural portrayal of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who come out of the furnance unscathed in the Book of Daniel. Into this blaze Cap stuffs the body of Sam McGee. Service does this well in the ballad form, and it’s for all the reasons discussed above that the poem is known as an important work of literature. Earlier strikes in California (1849), Australia (1851), and South Africa (1886) proved profitable for some who braved the weather and distances to lay claim to riches. Decide if the results would be worth the time and expense. Source: Bill Wiles, in an essay for Poetry for Students, Gale, 2001. Also, the dancing stars echo the Northern Lights of the opening stanza and foreshadow the flames of Sam’s “crematorium.”. Poetry for Students. Service has also been strongly compared to Rudyard Kipling and is sometimes called “The Canadian Kipling.” Service adopted similar rhythmic and rhyming approaches as well as the occasional use of the italicized stanzas that are found in the poetry of Kipling. But, the use of the verb “stuffed” in the last line of stanza 11 and the frenetic action of tearing out planks and lighting a fire begin the transition from the somber to the comic. There is no specific mention, but the reader could assume at least one of the dogs would share the snow cave with Cap, their bodies providing the heat. The term “moil” in the opening lines carries with it the meaning of digging under wet, dirty conditions. But most of the feel of the north is revealed through the constant references to the cold—the cold that “stabbed like a driven nail,” the cold that froze their lashes shut, and the cold that froze the grinning, departed Sam McGee on the way to the Lake. The annual output of gold reached a peak of 22 million dollars in 1900. Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Klinck, Carl F. and New, W. H., “Robert W(illiam) Service,” in Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 92: Canadian Writers, 1890-1920. ." We’ve got Robert W. Service to thank for that. The Cremation of Sam McGee is among the most famous of Robert W. Service’s poems. https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/cremation-sam-mcgee, "The Cremation of Sam McGee Sam asks Cap to cremate his body is he dies, Cap agrees to cremate him. The overplayed sudden cry of “Here … is my cre-ma-tor-eum” lightens the mood. Writing Task You have read Robert Service’s “The Cremation of Sam McGee” about a man fulfilling his friend’s dying wish. Start studying The Cremation of Sam Mcgee. In these stanzas, Sam tells the speaker (“Cap”) about his fear of being buried in an icy grave and makes Cap promise to cremate his corpse when he dies. During this time Service became interested in film. is an elegant poem crafted at the skilled hands of a celebrated Canadian poet Robert W. Service, but the measurement of skill in a poet’s ability should surpass the common elements of poetry like imagery, simile, diction, and metaphor. Just getting around is a chore, and it seems like you hurt pretty much all the time. As soon as eyes read, or ears hear, that famous opening line, the brain slides into its automatic rhythm. Compile a list of what a modern day prospector might need for a six-month journey into the Yukon wilderness. Whatever the actual truth to those claims might be, by 1899 Service was again working on a Vancouver Island ranch. This element of redemption and salvation negates the power of death even in the hostile and unforgiving cold of the Arctic. Yes, the content is appealing. When he can no longer refrain from avoiding the fire and is curious about how the cremation is progressing, he opens the door and sees Sam sitting up. “The Cremation of Sam McGee” is written in the form of a ballad. These lines let us know that we’re going to hear about the strange cremation of a guy named Sam McGee. FRANK BIDART Service represented tensions between nature and culture, and he claimed to espouse nature before all. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list. There appears to be some confusion as to why Sam left his warm Southern home. An important aspect of Service’s style is the generous use of dialogue. the cremation of sam mcgee setting Extracting gold from the Klondike and Yukon Rivers in less than favorable weather conditions offered challenges to the “sourdoughs” who came to seek their fortunes, and provided material for writers like Robert W. Service and Jack London. The frozen corpse of Sam McGee is the most obvious. In turn, this makes the actions of either the speaker of the poem or the character Sam McGee more immediate, memorable, and the reader is grounded in the plot of the poem with the characters. 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