Casabianca – Summary


The poem ‘Casabianca’ was written by Mrs Felicia Dorothea Hemans. It is written on a true story from the Battle of the Nile in 1798, in which Casablanca, a 12-year-old boy and the son of Luce Julien Joseph, was the commander of a warship. Since Casabianca tells a story, it is classified as narrative poetry. Casabianca tells the story of a courageous and loyal boy who refused to leave the burning ship without his father’s permission, despite the fact that his father was unconscious. The story comes to an end with the death of the boy and my favourite line:

“But the noblest thing that perished there

Was that young and faithful heart.”

Casabianca, the main character, the boy, faced a problem in the poem. He had no choice but to remain on the ship unless he had his father’s permission, but he would almost certainly perish if he did. The boy remained faithful even in the face of death and did not flee. This indicates that the boy was courageous and faithful.

The writer, Felicia Hemans, uses a simile that conjures up a fantastic picture in your mind. It allows you to see what is going on as though you were there, as shown in the seventh stanza, which tells us the fire:

“They wrapt the ship in splendour wild,

They caught the flag on high,

And streamed above the gallant child

Like banners in the sky.”

The language the writer uses sets the mood. The ending, when the boy dies, helps distinguish the mood of the poem as very dark and sad.

Here is the complete summary of the poem “Casabianca”

It starts out with the well-known line, “the boy stood on the burning deck”. The story relates to a remarkable incident of devotion and heroism witnessed during the Battle of the Nile.

The English naval squadron commanded by Lord Nelson sailed in on July 28, 1798. They’d caught the French fleet at anchor and unprepared. The L’Orient, France’s flagship, was soon flanked on both sides by English ships. The flashes of 2000 guns lit up the ships in the approaching darkness, igniting a furious war. The English broadsides spotted L’Orient and set fire to it.

The English sailors were then treated to a breathtaking sight. They noticed a boy standing alone on the burning deck. His name was Casabianca and he was the 12-year-old son of one of the ship’s officers. He was standing alone at his post. He was engulfed in flames, facing an astounded English foe. Soon after, the fire reached the powder magazine located deep down in the hold. The boy was killed when the entire ship exploded in a massive explosion.

The sound of L’Orient exploding could be heard 20 miles away in Rosetta. The fireball’s light could also be seen in Alexandria. It was a massive blast, the likes of which were seldom seen in those days. The English sailors were stunned by what they had just seen. The arms were silent for about twenty minutes. The carnage that had occurred shocked the English officers and men deeply. They dispatched a ship to bring the survivors to safety. Approximately 70 French sailors were rescued.

The story of that boy who stood on that burning deck was told and retold. It eventually became a legend. The story is still regarded as a classic example of devotion and faithful service. And the poem has remained a source of inspiration and wonder for many Christians throughout the ages. That boy who remained at his post on the burning deck will not be forgotten. And the storey of his valiant stand is remembered right up to the present day.

A. Answer the following questions

1.Who is Casabianca?

Ans. Casabianca was the brave son of a French admiral.

2.What is the setting of the poem?

Ans. The setting of the poem is the Anglo-French war at sea on evening of 28 July 1798.

3.How many people stood on the ship’s deck? Who were they?

Ans. Casabianca I was standing all alone on the deck of burning ship. All others soldiers had fled away.

4.Who did the boy call out to?

Ans. The boy called out to his father who lay unconscious on the Deck.

5.Did he get any reply? Why or why not?

Ans. The boy did not receive any reply as his father was unconscious and probably dead.

6.What parts of the ship are mentioned in the poem Casabianca?

Ans. The parts of the ship mentioned in the poem are deck, post, sail, flag, mast, helm and pennon.

B. answer the following questions with reference to context.

1.The flames ————————–not go.

a. He is a young boy Casablanca. He stood on the deck of his father’s ship.

b. He is described as a young boy, beautiful, with a creature of heroic blood, bright, brave and proud.

c. He would not leave because he was waiting for his father’s permission.

2.They wrapt ——————————–on high.

a. The fire that had engulfed the French ship is being described here.

b. They refer to the flames engulfing the ship.

c. The English had attacked the ship and had set it ablaze. So, it was wrapped in Splendour wild.

3.There came —————–thunder sound.

a. The fire had reached the gunpowder and causing a massive explosion.
b. There was a huge explosion and the fragments of the ship spread everywhere.

c. The entire ship along with its mast, helm and pennon was lost but the noblest thing that perished was the brave young boy Casablanca.

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