The Shepherd, the Magi, and Jesus
The shepherds and the Magi, otherwise known as the Three Wise Men, are some of the memorable people from the New Testament of the Bible. Besides Mary and Joseph, they were the first to witness baby Jesus, and their journey confirmed the arrival of the Messiah. There are two Gospels, Luke and Matthew, that introduce the nativity story, but each holds different views as to how the holy message of the birth was delivered to the pilgrims, when the time of their journey happened, and who they were; the Gospel of Luke contends they were shepherds and Matthew states that they were three men from the East. Nonetheless, the fact that they honoured the birth of Jesus with the highest respect remains unchanged. Langston Hughes’s “Shepherd’s Song at Christmas” illustrates an excited shepherd who is in haste for selecting gifts for the blessed. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s narrative poem, “The Three Kings”, takes a different approach to the identical event, therefore, creates another distinct atmosphere; third-person narration and point of view reject direct involvement of the speaker in the event, but they encourage audience to recall the journey that the three men took. Although both poems eulogize Jesus as the King through the use of literary techniques, noticeable dissimilarities in their structures and styles produce different tones for each poem; the song is more enthusiastic while the narrative poem is relatively calm and emotionless.
A metaphor poem, “Shepherd’s Song at Christmas”, reinforces the idea that the world has longed for the coming of the Messiah, Jesus. Hughes provides two choices of interpretation for this work: a literal interpretation and a metaphorical interpretation. With having the ...
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...o two parts; the first eight stanzas are the Magi’s journey to Bethlehem, and the last five stanzas describe a nativity scene and the Magi’s return to their homes. The ninth stanza, which discusses the kings’ arrival at the manger, serves a purpose as a turning point and the connection of the two stories. Elements of a story such as exposition, climax, and resolution from “The Three Kings” make the tone of the poem heavier and more emotionless, contrasting with “Shepherd’s Song at Christmas”.
Langston Hughes’s “Shepherd’s Song at Christmas” and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “The Three Kings” are similar in that they both use literary techniques such as metaphors, allusions, and symbolism to praise the birth of Jesus. However, Hughes creates a hasty but amiable tone throughout the poem while Langston writes his narrative poem with a composed and serene atmosphere.
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