The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald



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The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald

By Gordon Lightfoot
Read the following song written in memory of the ship The Edmund Fitzgerald, which sank in Lake Superior in 1975. On the right hand side, make an inference as to what the bolded words/phrases mean.
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down

of the big lake they called "Gitche Gumee."

The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead

when the skies of November turn gloomy.

With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more

than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty,

that good ship and true was a bone to be chewed

when the "Gales of November" came early.


The ship was the pride of the American side

coming back from some mill in Wisconsin.

As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most

with a crew and good captain well seasoned,

concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms

when they left fully loaded for Cleveland.

And later that night when the ship's bell rang,

could it be the north wind they'd been feelin'?
The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound

and a wave broke over the railing.

And ev'ry man knew, as the captain did too

'twas the witch of November come stealin'.

The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait

when the Gales of November came slashin'.

When afternoon came it was freezin' rain

in the face of a hurricane west wind.
When suppertime came the old cook came on deck sayin'.

"Fellas, it's too rough t'feed ya."

At seven P.M. a main hatchway caved in; he said,

"Fellas, it's bin good t'know ya!"

The captain wired in he had water comin' in

and the good ship and crew was in peril.

And later that night when 'is lights went outta sight

came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.


Does any one know where the love of God goes

when the waves turn the minutes to hours?

The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay Qtr. 3-

if they'd put fifteen more miles behind 'er.

They might have split up or they might have capsized;

they may have broke deep and took water.

And all that remains is the faces and the names

of the wives and the sons and the daughters.
Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings

in the rooms of her ice-water mansion.

Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams;

the islands and bays are for sportsmen.

And farther below Lake Ontario

takes in what Lake Erie can send her,

And the iron boats go as the mariners all know

with the Gales of November remembered.


In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed,

in the "Maritime Sailors' Cathedral."

The church bell chimed 'til it rang twenty-nine times

for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down

of the big lake they call "Gitche Gumee."



"Superior," they said, "never gives up her dead

when the gales of November come early!"
For the bolded phrases/words make sure to infer what they mean and also differentiate whether or not you are writing the denotative or connotative. After, please write a paragraph answering the following question, “How does the author’s use of figurative language and/or descriptive language help the author achieve his tone of tragedy and despair? Answer using details and information from the passage.


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