What is the Middle Passage by Robert Hayden about?

What is the Middle Passage by Robert Hayden about?

“Middle Passage” follows the transatlantic slave trade and is focused on the events surrounding the mutiny on La Amistad in July 1839. Hayden sought to redefine African-American history through his poem. The original version of the poem has some typographical errors and mistakes in how it was set.

What are three facts about the Middle Passage?


  • Slaves were chained and movement was restricted.
  • Slaves were unable to go to the toilet and had to lie in their own filth. Sickness quickly spread.
  • Slaves were all chained together.
  • The state of the hold would quickly become unbearable – dark, stuffy and stinking.

What was the middle passage and how long did it take?

The Middle Passage itself lasted roughly 80 days, on ships ranging from small schooners to massive, purpose-built “slave ships.” Humans were packed together on or below decks without space to sit up or move around.

What is the name of the anti hero of the poem Middle Passage?

His “anti-epic” approach includes characterization. With it he brings to life and ennobles Cinquez, an “antihero” and a symbolic racial representative whom Hayden glorifies in celebrating the ultimate subject of the poem–the heroic struggle for freedom by the black victims of the “Middle Passage.

When did Hayden write Middle Passage?

Historical Context. Robert Hayden published ‘Middle Passage’ in 1945. The poem falls within the context of the Atlantic Slave Trade, which began in the 15th century and ended in the 19th century.

What was the middle passage answers?

The Middle Passage was the journey slaves took from Africa to the Americas. When slaves were taken on the Middle Passage, they were packed tightly into huge ships. Slave owners would still make a huge profit so long as half the slaves on the ship made it to the port.

What was it like in the middle passage?

Seasickness was common and the heat was oppressive. The lack of sanitation and suffocating conditions meant there was a constant threat of disease. Epidemics of fever, dysentery (the ‘flux’) and smallpox were frequent. Captives endured these conditions for about two months, sometimes longer.

What is the Middle Passage and why is it important?

So many bodies of dead or dying Africans were jettisoned into the ocean that sharks regularly followed the slave ships on their westward journey. The Middle Passage supplied the New World with its major workforce and brought enormous profits to international slave traders.

What is the tone of the middle passage?

Another epic element in “Middle Passage” is the device of cataloging–the listing of the ships and the listing of the African tribes, all historically authenticated by Hayden’s research. It begins in medias res with the depiction of ships under full sail carrying slaves in mid-Atlantic. Its tone is dignified.

How does the poet unify the many perspectives presented in the poem?

Answer: The poet unifies the voices presented in the poem through the use of central symbols that all point to the same theme, the possibility of being free.

Who did Hayden marry?

Erma Morrism. 1940
Robert Hayden/Spouse

He spent the following years crafting his first volume of poetry, Heart-Shape in the Dust. The book was published in 1940. The same year, Hayden married Erma Inez Morris. Hayden converted to his wife’s religion — the Baha’i faith — shortly after their marriage.

What is an analysis of the poem ” Middle Passage ” by Robert Hayden?

What is an analysis of the poem “Middle Passage” by Robert Hayden? The title of the poem refers to the middle voyage of the ships of the transatlantic slave triangle trade. Ships left port in Europe, picked up slaves in Africa, delivered slaves and picked up goods…

Who are the speakers in the Middle Passage?

In “Middle Passage” Hayden mingles the voices of multiple speakers to depict the voyages of slave traders bringing Africans across the Atlantic Ocean.

Why did the crew of the Middle Passage survive?

They allow some crew members to survive so that they can return them back to Africa. In “Middle Passage” Hayden mingles the voices of multiple speakers to depict the voyages of slave traders bringing Africans across the Atlantic Ocean.

Is the poem the Middle Passage unsettling?

Even as the poem shows that the people involved in perpetrating inhumane practices did not have a monolithic view, it is unsettling in the absence of enslaved peoples’ words and points of view.