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Analysis and comments on The Indian Burying Ground by Philip Freneau

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Comment 14 of 364, added on September 16th, 2008 at 3:43 AM.

Philip Freneau was one of the first to idolize the Native American, and
thereby disagree with the main attitude and thoughts towards Indians, in
the 18th century America. He does so in the poem "The Indian Burying
ground". In the poem he depicts the close band between nature and Indians.
Furthermore the spirituality surrounding Indians and death is also a
central theme. He uses a wide variety of metaphors and symbols, to clarify
his message towards the reader. E.g.: "...Children of the forest." and "His
imaged birds, and painted bowl."
Therefore we believe that the poem, is written to inspire respect for the
Indians, and has had significant influence on the later perception of

Mads, Tobias and Nikolaj from Denmark
Comment 13 of 364, added on September 16th, 2008 at 3:43 AM.

We are of the opinion that Philip Freneau with this poem wants to tell us
that Native Americansí attitude towards life and death is the correct one,
which is seen in stanza 10: And reasonís self shall bow the knee. By this
he is saying that the truth, the white man is living by, has to knuckle
under to the Native Americans way of life.
He sees the Native Americansí as a very spiritual people, and by pointing
out the Native Americans as the superior thinkers in connection to life and
death he dissociate himself from materialism. Even though he praises
nature, which is materialistic, he actually praises the creation and life.

In spite of the fact that he wrote the poem in 1788, which is in the early
romanticism, we believe that because he dissociate himself from
materialism, he is ahead of his time and actually talks about values which
are appreciated and belong to late romanticism.

Anne-Mette & Emilie from Denmark
Comment 12 of 364, added on September 16th, 2008 at 3:43 AM.

When I've read this poem, I could see that Phillip tried to say, that the
Indians were the ®real® people. It was them who melt together with the
Phillip points out, that the Indians are the best hunters, and you should
show them all respect.
You can clearly see, that Phillips opnion in this poem; he's with the
indians, because he describes them very positive, and he compares them with
something supercilious, e.g. the nature.
you can also see that the poem has some devices from Romanticism, because
he compares the Indians with the Nature and also his description of the
indians; he decribes them like stone and birds, and it's also typical of

Jamal B
Comment 11 of 364, added on September 16th, 2008 at 3:43 AM.

We believe that this is a poem about the contrast of the white mans view on
death and the Native Americans. The "learned" white man seeks a meaning
with life, the essence, while the Indian culture is based on spirituality,
and therefore celebrates death as a symbol of becoming one with nature.
The author feels sorry for the misunderstanding between the Native
Americans culture and the European non-tolerant culture. He says the white
man is a stranger in nature, and does not understand neither the nature nor
the Indians.
We believe that the message Freneau is telling us, is that the Indians are
not savages, but should be respected, and that we perhaps could learn
something from their view on death. Where it is not something bad, but
rather a "feast" with old friends.

By Jens, Helene and Mikkel

Jens, Mikkel and Helene from Denmark
Comment 10 of 364, added on September 16th, 2008 at 3:43 AM.

This poem is a poem full of beauty. It describes the nature in relation to
the Native Americans. The ten stanzas with four lines each compares real
life to life after death. Freneau is right about the Indians not being
savages, and he is challenging the white, because the white people don't
respect the new country they have immigrated to. They think of the Indians
as thier slaves, which they have no right to.
After all, we think that the poem expresses Freneau's opinion very well,
which is niZe :D *lOl*

Sofie, Natascha og Emma from Denmark
Comment 9 of 364, added on September 16th, 2008 at 3:43 AM.

We think itís important to look at the time this poem was written in.
America has just won the independence war and is now trying to nationalize
itself by looking back at their past, like it was done all over the rest of
the world, especially Europe. Countries were striving to gain nationhood.
Historically, the rest of the world is going through the romance at this
time, and in the literature theyíre looking back at their ancestors in an
idolizing shade, which was so common in this period of time. The Americans
tries to do the same thing to gain nationalism.

Viktor & Mads Kisby from Denmark
Comment 8 of 364, added on January 23rd, 2008 at 4:25 PM.

Philip Freneau expresses his belief that the Indians are the ones who have
already established a connection with the Supreme Force that gave birth to
the life as we know it, and to the one which is mysteriosly hidden from us.
Unlike civilized nations, that use this gift as a means to secure a stable
and comfortable place in this world, the tribal communities keenly listen
to and obey the nature's inner voice which leads to the Designer of
Everything. It is rather low and one should dedicate their whole life in
order to hear it well.
The Indians are the attentive listeners.
The "civilized" people don't bother so much- they live, laugh, love and
sleep later. And for reaching the union with one's true self there will be

Maria Cankovic from Yugoslavia
Comment 7 of 364, added on March 5th, 2007 at 8:16 PM.

Reading this poem I see that it is both a regret of treatment toward Native
Americans, and an respect of there way of thinking toward the after life.
Being a Native American myself, the word freedom has an entirely different
meaning than what the average joe would think. Freneau expresses the
longing for the freedom in this poem. With his words "Beseak the nature of
the soul" He meant every mans will to be free. Do what makes the soul
happy. With line 33-36, he tells what made the hunter happy. Freneau gives
the respect to the Native American, as he speaks of the bruying grounds. He
tells the stranger, do not disturb the mounds. In his way he says they are
not asleep, rather, they are enjoying what made them happy..... FREEDOM !

George from United States
Comment 6 of 364, added on March 1st, 2007 at 12:37 AM.

Freneau's "The Indian Burying Ground" expresses his primitivism that marked
his nature poetry. Although reason assured Freneau that the dead did not
walk again on this earth, he indulges his fancy in this poem and supposes
that the sitting posture in which Indians bury their dead signifies their
belief in life on earth again. He even postulates that we say one thing and
act a different way, whereas the Indians' actions spring from their
beliefs. It is clear that Freneau admires the Indians, the noble savages by
this time.

Gracie Mendoza from United States
Comment 5 of 364, added on April 25th, 2006 at 12:27 AM.

It's bull shit, because I don't believe these words///
But i respect Freneau

MakSik from Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyzstan)

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Information about The Indian Burying Ground

Poet: Philip Freneau
Poem: The Indian Burying Ground
Added: Jan 31 2004
Viewed: 2327 times
Poem of the Day: Jul 1 2000

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