Essays from Song of Hiawatha  in
Diane’s American Literature Course series

In The Song of Hiawatha, the main character is a strong leader called Hiawatha.  He is like any other hero, in that he has “superpowers.”  He owns moccasins that, when he runs, with every footstep he goes a mile.  His mittens make him quite strong.  He marries Minnehaha, but she dies.  He ends up being alone.

My other hero, Christian from Pilgrim’s Progress, is alone.  He has some friends throughout the book, but mostly he is alone.  Christian leaves his hometown, the City of Destruction, to make his way to the Celestial City.  He must travel through danger, toils, and snares.  He does not really have superpowers, but the King gives him miraculous strength through his journey.  However, like many heroes, he mostly is alone.

Heroes often are alone.  Their superpower strength often makes people afraid of them, or they are just too busy fighting against evil that they have no time for anyone.  Often they are fighting in war or just everyday battles, but whatever the fight, they are always occupied with trying to figure out a way to win a battle and overcome evil.  Sometimes, as in Hiawatha’s case, a hero gets married, but almost always his companion is killed or the actual hero is killed.  Heroes are almost always alone.

L.J.W. (13)


When you read The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, it automatically induces a reader to consider Hiawatha a hero.  Other man made mythical heroes such as the Norse’s god Thor can be compared to Hiawatha.  These heroes have similarities and differences as to why they are considered heroes.

Hiawatha’s heroism truly stood out when he protected the people from Pau-Pok-Keewis.  After the long struggle to find Pau-Pok-Keewis, Hiawatha eventually killed him, ridding the Indian people of a monster. Also, Hiawatha taught the Indian people to plant corn so that the people might prosper.  Hiawatha has mythical characteristics such as his enchanted moccasins that allowed him to span a mile a step, and his mittens, Minjekahwun, that allowed him to lift boulders and smash rock.

As a comparison to Hiawatha, Thor was both a hero and a mythical being, but he lacked an air that Hiawatha possessed that has captivated readers for more than 150 years.  Thor, like Hiawatha’s mittens and moccasins, has a magic hammer that allows him to fly and he has the same heroic attitude as Hiawatha.  Thor also saved earth, as well as Asgard, from the evil beings.

Though Hiawatha and Thor have many similarities, they also have

differences, such as, Thor is a god and Hiawatha is a demigod, Thor was a Norse god and Hiawatha an Indian god.  Although their differences may be great both of them have the same heroic qualities and are ready to protect at anytime.

G.B. (14)


In The Song of Hiawatha, Hiawatha is pictured as a hero.  LIke many of the heroes in the old myths and legends, he is strong and wise  Also like the other heroes, he has some supernatural abilities; but rather than his abilities being innate, they are granted by articles of clothing.  For example: his mittens give him extraordinary strength, and his moccasins enable him to travel a mile with each step.  He also has exaggerated abilities such as being able to shoot an arrow and run so fast that it falls behind him.  He is very wise and a good leader.

E.W. (15)


Through the years, people have created many kinds of heroes, from Hercules to Superman.  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow created such a hero in his book Hiawatha.  In this book, Longfellow depicts Hiawatha as a demigod.  Hiawatha, I believe, shows similar acts of heroism to another mythical hero, Hercules.  Both Hiawatha and Hercules endure treacherous journeys.  For example, Hiawatha journeyed through the portals of the sunset to find his father Mudjekeewis.  Hercules Journeyed to the Underworld to bring back Cerberus, Hades’ dog. Hiawatha and Hercules also had tragedy in their lives.  Unfortunately, Hiawatha’s wife dies and Hercules is driven insane by the goddess Hera and he kills his own wife and children.  Hiawatha was a hero to the Indians and Hercules a hero to the Greeks.  They both showed bravery and courage as they risked their lives for people.

B. B. (16)


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