Hi Everyone!! This article will share The Slave’s Dream Questions & Answers.
Written by H.M Longfellow, the poem depicts the tragic life of a South African slave who was once a king of his tribe. In this poem, the slave is forced to labour hard without being provided sufficient food, clothes or shelter. His body is in chains but his spirit refused to accept slavery. Death comes to liberate him (his soul) from the shackles of his body and servitude. The poem is a scathing attack on the system of slavery.
In my previous posts, I have shared the questions & answers of The Landlady, A Girl’s Incredible Journey and A Dream so, you can check these posts as well.
The Slave’s Dream Questions & Answers
- Ungathered – uncollected
- Sickle – a tool used to cut grass or crops
- Matted – knotted; tangled
- Native land – a country in which one is born
- Niger – a river in Africa
- Myriad – a large number
- Tempestuous – full of very strong emotions
- Glee – happiness
- Illumined – lit up
- Fetter – chains put around a prisoner’s feet
- Bridle reins – leather straps attached to a horse’s bit and used to control the horse
- Martial – related to war
- Scabbard – a cover for a sword
- Smiting – hitting
- Stallion – a male horse
Question 1: Read the line and answer the questions:
1. Beside the ungathered rice he lay,
His sickle in his hand;
(a) Who is the poet talking about?
Answer: The poet is talking about a slave in America.
(b) What does the person have in his hand?
Answer: The person has a sickle in his hand.
2. Again, in the mist and shadow of sleep
He saw his Native Land
(a) What is referred to as the mist and shadow of sleep?
Answer: The mist and shadow of sleep refers to the dream being dreamt by the slave. This term is significant because it connotes an almost mystical state of reality. He isn’t in a deep slumber in these dreams of his homeland, yet he can vividly see the freedom that he desires so desperately.
(b) What is the slave’s native land?
Answer: The slave’s native place was Africa from where he was smuggled illegally to America. During the 16th and 17th centuries, thousands of slaves were brought to American colonies where they were forced to do the hard work.
3. He saw once more his dark-eyed queen
Among her children stand;
(a) Who is referred to as the dark-eyed queen?
Answer: The dark-eyed queen is referred to the slave’s wife.
(b) Who is there with her?
Answer: Slave’s children are there with her.
4. He did not feel the driver’s whip,
Nor the burning heat of day;
(a) What is the driver’s whip?
Answer: The slave has been found by the owner lying down and they are whipping him to wake him up.
(b) Why didn’t he feel it?
Answer: The slave didn’t feel it because he was dead. So, he didn’t feel the drive’s whip, nor the burning heat of day.
5. A worn-out fetter, that the soul
Had broken and thrown away!
(a) Why is the slave’s body compared to a worn-out fetter?
Answer: The Slave’s body is compared to a worn-out fetter because his soul has broken the chains (fetters) of his body and attained the freedom after death.
(b) What has happened to the slave?
Answer: The slave has died and his soul had been free from slavery.
Question 2: Why did the slave lie beside the ungathered rice?
Answer: The slave lied behind the ungathered rice with a sickle in his hand because he got tired and was dreaming about his native land.
The Slave’s Dream Questions & Answers
Question 3: Describe the slave’s physical appearance.
Answer: The physical image of a slave is portrayed through first stanza of the poem. He is tired of his work assigned to him and slept in fields. The phase ungathered rice and sickle in his hand indicates that his work is yet incomplete. His bare breast represents the bareness of his life as a slave and matted hair buried in sand indicates the death slowly creeping over his body. As he sleeps, his dreams take him to his native land.
Question 4: What river did the slave see in his dreams?
Answer: The slave sees the Niger River in his dreams.
Question 5: What did he see himself as?
Answer: He imagined himself as a King.
Question 6: Where was he riding in his dream? Describe the place.
Answer: The slave imagines himself riding a horse swiftly along the banks of the Niger. He follows the flamingoes and rides on till he sees the roofs of the huts of the caffre tribe. At night, he hears the lions roar, the hyenas scream and the hippopotamus crush the reeds in a marshy land.
Question 7: The forests shouted of liberty? What does this refer to?
Answer: The forests shouted of liberty refers to the cry of his soul for freedom and liberty.
Question 8: Do you think the slave not only suffered from the cruelty of his master but also the harshness of nature? Give reasons for your answer.
Answer: Yes, the slave not only suffered from the cruelty of his master but also the harshness of nature, as the last stanza mentions the ‘burning heat of the day’ where he is lying in direct sunlight.
Question 9: What was the slave’s dream?
Answer: The slave’s dream was to get his freedom, so that he could visit his homeland in Africa and meet his family. He dreamt of living the rest of his life with his family. He was embraced for his home.
Question 10: What kind of life did the slave have? Did he eventually get freedom? If yes, how?
Answer: The slave led a very pity life as he had no freedom. He has to serve for his master for the whole life. His master used to beat him up with whip. In a way, he eventually did get freedom because death is the only means of attaining freedom of any kind.
So, these were The Slave’s Dream Questions & Answers.