“Crossing the Bar” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

1. What is the speaker’s attitude towards death and dying?
The speaker displays an attitude of complacency towards death.

2. What is the sandbar a metaphor of?
The sandbar is a metaphor for the line between life and death. It is something that needs to be overcome and reached.

Crossing the Bar

3. This entire poem functions as an analogy. To what is Lord Tennyson’s image of a ship “crossing the bar” and going out to sea an analogy?
Lord Tennyson’s image of “crossing the bar” is an analogy to death, which is meant to strike up images of the soul passing the point at which it will not return, but travel on to heaven.

4. Explain the speaker’s reference to “my Pilot” in the last stanza.
Since the poem is an analogy to passing on from life to heaven, the reference to “my pilot” is a reference to God, whom he “hope[s] to see” when he reaches heaven.


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