Get notes, line-by-line explanation, summary, questions and answers, critical analysis, word meanings, extras, and pdf of the poem “Haunted Houses” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow which is part of ICSE Class 10 English (Treasure Chest: A Collection of ICSE Poems and Short Stories). However, the notes should only be treated for references and changes should be made according to the needs of the students.
The poem starts by saying that every house where people have lived is haunted. Here, “houses” is our physical existence, and being “haunted” means we’re left with permanent impressions from the people we’ve known. These influences hover quietly like ghosts, often going unnoticed but still leaving their mark.
Longfellow suggests that these impressions are always present, appearing at various stages and transitions in life – in doorways, on stairs, and through passages. He is saying that at any given time, we are only conscious of a fraction of these influences. However, beneath the surface, our minds are crammed with memories, imprints, and echoes of past bonds, similar to a hall filled with polite, harmless spectres.
The experiences and recollections of our interactions are deeply personal. An outsider might only see someone’s present self, but that person feels acutely their whole backstory and the many forces shaping their current views and emotions.
While we may feel ownership over our experiences and memories, Longfellow claims true ownership is hard to grasp. People from our past, even those forgotten, keep swaying our choices, perceptions, and sense of self.
The poem then zooms out to a bigger metaphysical perspective – that an ethereal realm of memories and old impacts envelops our tangible existence. This realm profoundly enriches our daily lives, giving depth and dimension to our present understanding.
Our lives are depicted as a delicate balance of past influences, some tugging us towards base desires, others lifting us towards higher aims. This balance is maintained by unseen or subtle influences, which Longfellow poetically compares to undiscovered stars or planets.
Using the moon as a metaphor, the poet stresses how past influences can light our path, guiding us through the vast expanse of life’s journey even as we head into the unknown.
Line-by-line explanation of the poem
All houses wherein men have lived and died
Are haunted houses.
Here, the term “houses” is a metaphor for our bodies or lives, and being “haunted” indicates the indelible mark or influence left by the people we encounter. Just as every house has its history, every person carries the memories and impacts of past relationships and interactions.
Through the open doors
The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
With feet that make no sound upon the floors.
Open doors signify moments of vulnerability or openness in our lives. The “harmless phantoms” symbolise individuals who’ve passed through our lives, sometimes unnoticed or unacknowledged, leaving subtle but meaningful imprints. Their silent movements suggest that often, the full depth of their influence isn’t immediately evident.
We meet them at the door-way, on the stair,
Along the passages they come and go,
Impalpable impressions on the air,
The various places mentioned (door-way, stair, passages) allude to the different phases and transitional moments in our lives. These people affect us at varying intensities and at different times, but their impact remains, even if it’s as elusive as “impressions on the air.”
There are more guests at table than the hosts
Invited; the illuminated hall
Is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,
Our conscious mind (the “table”) often only acknowledges a fraction of the influences and memories we carry. However, our subconscious (the “illuminated hall”) is filled with countless past interactions, represented here by the “quiet, inoffensive ghosts”.
The stranger at my fireside cannot see
The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear;
He but perceives what is; while unto me
All that has been is visible and clear.
Our experiences, memories, and the impact of past relationships are deeply personal. Others might only see our current state, but we are vividly aware of our history and the multitude of influences that shape our present perception and feelings.
We have no title-deeds to house or lands;
Owners and occupants of earlier dates
From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands,
And hold in mortmain still their old estates.
This suggests that while we may feel ownership over our bodies and lives, we don’t truly own the influences and memories within us. People from our past, even those long forgotten, continue to impact our choices and perceptions.
The spirit-world around this world of sense
Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere
Wafts through these earthly mists and vapours dense
A vital breath of more ethereal air.
The “spirit-world” signifies the realm of memories and past influences that envelope our tangible existence. This ethereal realm breathes life into our daily experiences, enriching our understanding and perspective.
Our little lives are kept in equipoise
By opposite attractions and desires;
The struggle of the instinct that enjoys,
And the more noble instinct that aspires.
Our lives are in a constant state of balance, shaped by both our baser instincts and higher aspirations. These instincts are influenced by the varied people we encounter, some pulling us toward momentary pleasures and others elevating us toward greater goals.
These perturbations, this perpetual jar
Of earthly wants and aspirations high,
Come from the influence of an unseen star
An undiscovered planet in our sky.
Our internal conflicts, the battle between our desires and aspirations, often arise from hidden or unacknowledged influences. This “unseen star” or “undiscovered planet” symbolises those powerful yet unrecognised people or moments that guide our inner compass.
And as the moon from some dark gate of cloud
Throws o’er the sea a floating bridge of light,
Across whose trembling planks our fancies crowd
Into the realm of mystery and night,
This picturesque imagery depicts how past influences can serve as guiding lights, much like how the moon illuminates a path across the sea. It emphasises the idea that our past shapes and influences our journey, even into the unknown.
So from the world of spirits there descends
A bridge of light, connecting it with this,
O’er whose unsteady floor, that sways and bends,
Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss.
Building on the previous imagery, this concludes the poem by suggesting that the world of past influences (or spirits) provides a connection to our present. As we navigate our lives, our decisions and feelings are continually shaped by those who’ve left their mark on us.
Haunted: In this context, it means deeply influenced or pervaded by memories or impressions of people from the past.
Houses: Representing the lives or bodies of individuals. A metaphor for the container of one’s experiences, memories, and the imprints of people they’ve met.
Phantoms: Ghostly figures, representing lingering memories, influences, or impressions of individuals who’ve passed through our lives.
Errands: Their purposes or reasons for influencing our lives.
Glide: Move smoothly and continuously, indicating the subtle and often unnoticed manner in which these influences manifest.
Door-way, Stair, Passages: Different phases, moments, or transitions in life. These are the points where we often encounter new people and experiences.
Impalpable: Difficult to feel or grasp, highlighting the elusive nature of some influences or memories.
Guests: The various people, memories, or influences present in our lives.
Hosts: Represents us or the individual’s conscious acknowledgment of these memories or people.
Illuminated hall: A space representing one’s conscious awareness or present state of mind.
Fireside: A personal, intimate space within oneself; one’s comfort zone or inner sanctum.
Forms: The clear memories or impressions of past interactions or individuals.
Title-deeds: Claims or rights to ownership.
Lands: Tangible assets or the physical aspects of life.
Mortmain: A term meaning ‘dead hand.’ Here, it signifies the unyielding grip or influence of past memories or individuals over one’s present life.
Estates: Represents assets, experiences, or memories one ‘owns’ in their life.
Spirit-world: The realm of memories, past influences, and impressions that surround our tangible reality.
Sense: Our current, tangible reality or conscious understanding.
Atmosphere: The enveloping space filled with past memories and influences.
Equipoise: Balance or equilibrium.
Attractions: Desires or tendencies influenced by past experiences or individuals.
Aspirations: Higher goals or ambitions, also influenced by our past.
Perturbations: Disturbances or conflicts within oneself.
Star, Planet: Unseen or unacknowledged influences guiding our inner decisions and feelings.
Moon: A guiding light or influence.
Gate of cloud: Obstacles or moments of obscurity in life.
Sea: The vast expanse of one’s life or experiences.
Bridge of light: The connection between past influences and the present.
Abyss: Deep, uncharted territory or the unknown aspects of one’s life.
About the author
The beloved 19th century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow often turned to history and legend to remind his readers of their shared heritage. Works like “The Song of Hiawatha,” based on Native American oral traditions, and “Paul Revere’s Ride,” celebrating a pivotal moment in the Revolutionary War, cemented Longfellow’s status as a chronicler of the American experience.
In “Haunted Houses,” the “phantoms” are not vengeful spirits or mischievous poltergeists; they are the lingering memories and influences of people now gone. Longfellow suggests these spectral impressions quietly share our spaces and activities, observing our daily lives. Though we may not actively notice them, the ghosts of loved ones remain connected to us, floating through our consciousness.
The gentle, singsong rhythm and rhyme scheme, along with Longfellow’s peaceful tone, evoke solace rather than fear. His assertion that all houses are “haunted” is a reassuring acknowledgement that those we’ve lost can still inhabit our lives and thoughts, as long as we hold them in our memories. Rather than a frightening concept, Longfellow presents a vision of haunting that is comforting – our departed loved ones never truly leave us, but remain imprinted on our hearts and woven into the fabric of our lives.
Additional/Extra questions and answers
1. How does Longfellow describe all houses where men have lived and died?
Answer: Longfellow poetically refers to all houses where men have lived and died as “haunted houses.” In this context, the term “haunted” doesn’t refer to ghostly apparitions in the traditional spooky sense. Instead, it evokes the idea that memories, emotions, and experiences of the past inhabitants still linger, making their presence felt in subtle and profound ways.
2. What do the “harmless phantoms” in the poem represent?
Answer: The “harmless phantoms” are emblematic of memories, past experiences, and perhaps the spirits or essences of those who once occupied the houses. These phantoms are memories that are ever-present but intangible, exerting a silent influence on the living.
3. How do these phantoms move through the houses?
Answer: These phantoms are depicted as moving silently, gliding through open doors “with feet that make no sound upon the floors.” This quiet, unobtrusive movement emphasises the subtlety with which memories and past experiences can permeate our present consciousness.
4. How does the poem address the concept of memory and its impact on an individual’s perception of reality?
Answer: The poem places a strong emphasis on memory as a living entity, suggesting that the past is not dormant but actively engages with and influences the present. Through lines like “All that has been is visible and clear,” Longfellow posits that memory offers clarity and understanding. These memories, whether personal or inherited from previous generations, become a part of our lived reality, even if they remain unseen to others. In this way, Longfellow underscores the idea that our perception of reality is deeply interwoven with our memories and the legacies left behind by those who came before us.
5. What does “Impalpable impressions on the air” suggest about the nature of these phantoms?
Answer: This phrase suggests that the phantoms, or memories, leave behind a feeling or essence that’s almost intangible, yet undeniable. They’re not physically present, but their ethereal nature affects the atmosphere, changing how one perceives and feels about a space.
6. How does the poem describe the presence of these spirits during gatherings or dinners?
Answer: The poem paints a poignant picture of social gatherings, where there seem to be more guests (in the form of spirits or memories) than those physically present. It’s a reminder that our past, our memories, and those who came before us always accompany us, even in our most communal moments.
7. How do the spirits in the “illuminated hall” behave?
Answer: The spirits in the “illuminated hall” are characterised as being peaceful and passive, existing as “quiet, inoffensive ghosts.” They are likened to the silent images in paintings, suggesting a passive observance rather than an active presence.
8. What distinction does the poem make between the perceptions of the speaker and a stranger by his fireside?
Answer: The poem elucidates a personal, intimate connection between the speaker and his surroundings. While a stranger might only perceive the current, tangible reality, the speaker is deeply connected to the past, seeing and hearing memories and experiences that are invisible to others.
9. How does Longfellow address the concept of ownership and the passage of time in the stanza about title-deeds?
Answer: Longfellow delves into the fleeting nature of ownership and possession. By stating that no one holds eternal title-deeds to land or houses, he emphasises that life is transitory. Previous owners, though long gone, continue to exert influence, highlighting the cyclical and interconnected nature of existence.
10. What does the term “mortmain” imply in the context of the poem?
Answer: “Mortmain” literally translates to “dead hand.” In the poem, it’s used to depict the enduring, unyielding grip of the past and those who’ve passed on. It conveys the idea that the influence of the dead remains, particularly in relation to possessions and legacies.
11. How does the poet describe the relationship between the world of sense and the spirit-world?
Answer: Longfellow crafts an ethereal imagery where the spirit-world envelops the world of sense like an all-encompassing atmosphere. It’s not separate but coexists with our tangible world, interweaving with it. This suggests that memories, spirits, and past experiences are ever-present, subtly shaping our perceptions and feelings, blending the tangible with the intangible.
12. What does “a vital breath of more ethereal air” symbolise?
Answer: This poetic phrase encapsulates the essence of memories and spiritual presence that vivifies our surroundings. It emphasises the life-giving and influential nature of past experiences and memories, which, though intangible, breathe vitality into our present, making the past ever-present.
13. How are our lives described in terms of opposing forces?
Answer: Longfellow captures the delicate balance of life, held in check by contrasting forces. Our lives swing like a pendulum between hedonistic desires and loftier aspirations. This juxtaposition elucidates the human condition, torn between immediate gratification and the quest for higher purpose or meaning.
14. What are the two opposing instincts mentioned in the poem?
Answer: Longfellow distinguishes between the primal, earthly instinct that seeks pleasure and enjoyment and the more elevated, noble instinct that strives for higher goals, ideals, and aspirations. This duality reflects the complexities of human nature, our simultaneous pull towards both the material and the spiritual.
15. How do “earthly wants and aspirations high” affect our lives, according to the poem?
Answer: They introduce a state of continuous tension and flux in our existence. This constant tug-of-war between base desires and loftier ambitions is a central theme of human existence. It’s this interplay, driven by unseen influences, that shapes our actions, decisions, and feelings, making life a complex dance of contrasting desires.
16. What might the “unseen star” and “undiscovered planet” metaphorically represent?
Answer: These celestial bodies symbolise unknown forces, influences, or factors that unconsciously drive our desires and actions. Just as these heavenly bodies exert unseen gravitational forces, the poem suggests there are intangible elements in our lives that shape our earthly wants and higher aspirations.
17. How does the moon play a role in illustrating a connection to the mysterious?
Answer: Longfellow employs the moon, a luminescent beacon in the night, as a metaphorical bridge between the known and the enigmatic. Its radiant path over the sea serves as a conduit for our imaginations, beckoning us to explore the realm of mystery, the unknown, and the depths of our own psyche.
18. What does the “floating bridge of light” symbolise?
Answer: The “floating bridge of light” epitomises the transient and fragile connections between our present reality and the vast expanse of the unknown or the past. It’s a bridge of understanding, memory, and imagination, allowing us to traverse the chasm between the tangible and the ethereal.
19. How is the bridge described, and what might its characteristics suggest about the nature of connecting with the unknown?
Answer: The bridge’s described instability — swaying and bending — underscores the precarious nature of our connection with the unknown. Venturing into the realms of memories, past experiences, or the spiritual involves uncertainty, vulnerability, and a leap of faith.
20. How do our thoughts wander according to the last stanza?
Answer: Our thoughts, guided by imagination and curiosity, meander over the ethereal bridge, exploring the mysteries of the spirit realm, the past, and the profound depths of human experience. This wandering signifies our innate desire to understand, connect with, and perhaps find solace in the intangible.
21. What is the overall tone of the poem towards these “ghosts” or memories?
Answer: The poem radiates a contemplative, introspective, and even reverential tone towards these “ghosts” or memories. Longfellow doesn’t view them as eerie or ominous but rather as silent witnesses to our lives, ever-present reminders of our rich tapestry of experiences, connections, and legacies.
22. How does the poem suggest the simultaneous presence of the past and the present?
Answer: Through the omnipresent phantoms or memories that glide through homes, linger in gatherings, and influence our daily experiences, the poem beautifully intertwines the past with the present. It’s a poignant reminder that our past is not a distant, disconnected realm but is alive, influencing, and interwoven with our present.
23. What might the “dark gate of cloud” represent in our lives?
Answer: This evocative imagery can signify challenges, uncertainties, or obscured memories that momentarily eclipse our clarity. Yet, just as the moon’s brilliance emerges from this dark gate, moments of enlightenment, understanding, and revelation emerge from our trials and tribulations.
24. Why might Longfellow have chosen to describe these spirits or memories as “quiet” and “inoffensive”?
Answer: By characterising these spirits or memories as “quiet” and “inoffensive,” Longfellow underscores the subtle, gentle influence of the past. These memories don’t intrude or disrupt but rather exist harmoniously alongside our present, whispering insights, evoking emotions, and shaping our perceptions.
25. How does the poem address the idea of memory and recollection?
Answer: Longfellow paints memories and recollections as tangible, ever-present entities, much like spirits or phantoms. They are not mere abstract notions but actively influence our present, reminding us of people we’ve met, places we’ve been, and experiences we’ve had. These memories, though intangible, give depth to our present, making our lives richer and more layered.
26. How does the poet perceive the distinction between the visible and the invisible?
Answer: The poet sees a thin veil separating the visible from the invisible. While a stranger might only recognize the tangible present, the poet perceives a deeper layer of existence, where memories, past experiences, and perhaps spirits from bygone eras coexist with the present, subtly influencing and shaping it.
27. What does the poem convey about the nature of existence and our connection to the past?
Answer: The poem suggests that existence is a rich tapestry interwoven with memories, past experiences, and the legacies of those who came before us. Our connection to the past isn’t just historical or genealogical; it’s emotional, spiritual, and deeply personal. The past isn’t truly “past”; it constantly informs and enriches our present.
28. How does Longfellow view the passage of time and its impact on spaces we inhabit?
Answer: For Longfellow, time doesn’t merely pass; it accumulates, leaving behind layers of memories, emotions, and experiences. The spaces we inhabit, like homes, bear silent witness to this passage of time, becoming repositories of countless stories, echoes of laughter, whispers of secrets, and traces of lives lived.
29. How does the imagery of the “floating bridge of light” help in understanding our connection with the mysterious or the unknown?
Answer: The “floating bridge of light” stands as a delicate, ethereal link between the known and the mysterious. Its transient and fragile nature mirrors our tentative grasp on the intangible aspects of existence, like memories or the spiritual realm. It symbolises our innate desire and effort to connect with, understand, and explore the profound depths beyond our immediate perception.
30. In the context of the poem, how does Longfellow perceive the influence of those who came before us on our lives?
Answer: Longfellow reverently acknowledges the indelible mark left by predecessors. Their legacies aren’t just material but are deeply emotional and spiritual. They linger in the spaces we inhabit, in the air we breathe, and in the very fabric of our existence. They silently guide, influence, and shape our lives in ways both subtle and profound.
31. How does Longfellow personify houses in the beginning of the poem?
Answer: In the poem, Longfellow personifies houses by suggesting that they have memories and histories, and are thus “haunted.” When he writes “All houses wherein men have lived and died / Are haunted houses,” he is not referring to the traditional idea of ghosts but to the lingering memories, experiences, and influences of those who once occupied these spaces. The houses “remember” the lives of their former inhabitants, making them repositories of personal and collective histories.
32. What significance do the “open doors” hold in the context of the poem?
Answer: The “open doors” in the poem symbolize accessibility and openness to the past. They indicate that the memories and influences of those who lived before are not shut away but can freely move, impacting and interacting with the present. The doors also suggest a permeability between the past and the present, emphasizing the idea that our history is always with us, influencing our current lives.
33. What does the poet mean when he says, “Impalpable impressions on the air”?
Answer: “Impalpable impressions on the air” conveys the idea of subtle, intangible influences that are felt but not seen. These are the fleeting feelings, memories, or presences of past inhabitants that, while they may not manifest physically, leave a mark or influence on one’s perception or emotions. It’s akin to feeling someone’s presence or their legacy even if they aren’t physically there.
34. How does Longfellow differentiate between the perception of the stranger at the fireside and his own?
Answer: Longfellow notes that while the stranger perceives only the present moment – what is immediately visible and tangible – he himself can see and feel all that has transpired in that space before. The line “He but perceives what is; while unto me / All that has been is visible and clear” suggests that the poet has a deeper connection or sensitivity to the histories and memories contained within the space, while the stranger remains unaware of such influences.
35. What does the line “All that has been is visible and clear” suggest about the narrator’s understanding of the past?
Answer: The line “All that has been is visible and clear” suggests that the narrator has a profound connection to and understanding of the past. He can vividly perceive and recognize the influences, memories, and legacies of those who have come before him. This clarity indicates that, for the narrator, the past is not a distant or faded memory but a living influence that continually interacts with the present.
36. How does Longfellow use the imagery of “dusty hands” stretching from “graves forgotten” to convey the idea of legacy and influence?
Answer: The imagery of “dusty hands” stretching from “graves forgotten” evokes a powerful sense of the past reaching out to the present. Even though the people from the past have been buried and perhaps forgotten by the world, their influence remains, like hands trying to connect with the living. This vivid imagery underscores the idea that legacies, memories, and histories continue to play a role in the present, even if they originate from individuals long forgotten.
37. What does the poet mean by “a vital breath of more ethereal air” in relation to the spirit-world and the world of sense?
Answer: The phrase “a vital breath of more ethereal air” alludes to a purer, more refined essence that comes from the spirit-world. In contrast to the “earthly mists and vapours dense” of the physical world, this ethereal air represents the intangible, spiritual influences that are ever-present around us. It suggests that there is a continuous interaction between the tangible, sensory world and the intangible, spiritual realm.
38. How does the poem explore the tension between earthly desires and higher aspirations?
Answer: Longfellow addresses the dual nature of human beings, who are torn between their base instincts or “earthly wants” and their nobler desires or “aspirations high.” This duality is captured in the lines “Our little lives are kept in equipoise / By opposite attractions and desires.” The poem contemplates how these conflicting forces keep our lives in balance, suggesting that both our earthly desires and higher aspirations shape our experiences and actions.
39. How is the “undiscovered planet in our sky” a metaphor for unseen influences in our lives?
Answer: The “undiscovered planet in our sky” represents the unknown or unacknowledged forces that impact our lives. Just as an undiscovered planet might exert gravitational forces that influence other celestial bodies without being directly observed, the unseen influences from our past or from those we’ve encountered exert a pull on our thoughts, feelings, and actions. This metaphor underscores the idea that there are always underlying factors shaping our experiences, whether or not we’re aware of them.
40. In what ways does the imagery of the moon’s “floating bridge of light” parallel the bridge of light from the world of spirits?
Answer: Both the moon’s “floating bridge of light” and the bridge of light from the spirit world serve as connectors between two realms. The moon’s bridge connects the earth to the mysteries of the night, while the spirit bridge connects the living with the influences of the past. These bridges symbolise the thin boundaries between the known and the unknown, the tangible and the intangible, and the present and the past. They illustrate the idea that our reality is continuously intertwined with mysteries and influences beyond our immediate perception.
41. What do the “trembling planks” of the bridge represent in terms of human understanding and emotions?
Answer: The “trembling planks” of the bridge suggest the fragile and uncertain nature of our understanding and connection to the intangible influences of the past. This instability reflects the human emotions of doubt, fear, and awe when confronted with the unknown or the profound. The trembling planks signify our tentative efforts to grasp and understand the deeper mysteries of existence and the influences that shape our lives.
42. How does the poem convey the idea of the interconnectedness between the past, present, and future?
Answer: The poem paints a vivid picture of how the memories, legacies, and influences of the past are ever-present, shaping our current experiences and, by extension, our future. By emphasizing the presence of “harmless phantoms” and “quiet, inoffensive ghosts” in our daily lives, Longfellow suggests that our present reality is continuously intertwined with the past. The interconnectedness is further highlighted by the bridges of light, which serve as pathways linking different realms of time and existence.
43. What might be the significance of the “unsteady floor” of the bridge that connects the world of spirits with the present world?
Answer: The “unsteady floor” of the bridge symbolizes the uncertainty and volatility of our understanding of and connection to the past and the spiritual realm. It reflects the inherent instability and unpredictability of life, where our perceptions and beliefs are constantly challenged and reshaped by new experiences and insights. This unsteady foundation reminds us of the delicate balance between our tangible reality and the intangible influences that surround us.
44. In what ways does Longfellow challenge traditional notions of the supernatural in this poem?
Answer: Instead of presenting the supernatural as something fearful or malevolent, Longfellow depicts it as a benign and ever-present influence. The “harmless phantoms” and “quiet, inoffensive ghosts” stand in contrast to traditional ghostly figures that haunt and terrorize. Longfellow’s ghosts are simply remnants of the past, memories and influences that permeate our lives. By doing so, he reframes the supernatural not as distant and eerie entities, but as familiar, omnipresent echoes of previous lives and times that silently shape our present.
1. How does Longfellow describe the houses wherein men have lived and died?
A. As beautiful monuments B. As haunted houses C. As empty shells D. As remnants of history
Answer: B. As haunted houses
2. What do the “open doors” in the poem symbolize?
A. Mystery B. Isolation C. Death D. Accessibility to the past
Answer: D. Accessibility to the past
3. Which line indicates that the narrator perceives more than the stranger?
A. “We meet them at the door-way, on the stair” B. “The stranger at my fireside cannot see” C. “Impalpable impressions on the air” D. “Owners and occupants of earlier dates”
Answer: B. “The stranger at my fireside cannot see”
4. What do “dusty hands” stretching from “graves forgotten” represent?
A. The aging process B. Lost memories C. Legacy and influence D. Decaying past
Answer: C. Legacy and influence
5. What do the “harmless phantoms” in the poem represent?
A. Scary entities B. Memories and past influences C. Traditional ghosts D. Unknown future events
Answer: B. Memories and past influences
6. Which element serves as a connector between two realms in the poem?
A. Sunlight B. Moon’s bridge of light C. Trees D. Shadows
Answer: B. Moon’s bridge of light
7. What keeps our “little lives” in balance according to the poem?
A. Wealth and poverty B. Love and hate C. Opposite attractions and desires D. Day and night
Answer: C. Opposite attractions and desires
8. How does the poet depict ghosts in the poem?
A. Threatening B. Mischievous C. Quiet and inoffensive D. Noisy
Answer: C. Quiet and inoffensive
9. What does the “undiscovered planet in our sky” metaphorically signify?
A. Unknown mysteries of the universe B. Unseen influences in our lives C. New possibilities D. Future explorations
Answer: B. Unseen influences in our lives
10. What does “a vital breath of more ethereal air” allude to?
A. Fresh start B. Nature’s beauty C. Purer essence from the spirit-world D. Need for ventilation
Answer: C. Purer essence from the spirit-world
11. How does the poem represent the struggle between earthly desires and higher aspirations?
A. As a balance of good and evil B. As a continuous conflict C. As a dance between light and dark D. As opposite attractions keeping lives in equipoise
Answer: D. As opposite attractions keeping lives in equipoise
12. What significance does the “unsteady floor” of the bridge hold in the poem?
A. Robust connection between realms B. Fragility of human understanding C. Steadfast beliefs D. Risky endeavors
Answer: B. Fragility of human understanding
13. What does the imagery of “dusty hands” from “graves forgotten” imply?
A. The burden of the past B. Forgotten heroes C. Influence of past individuals, even if forgotten D. Abandoned places
Answer: C. Influence of past individuals, even if forgotten
14. How does Longfellow’s portrayal of the supernatural differ from traditional depictions?
A. He presents it as harmful B. He sees it as familiar and ever-present influences C. He doesn’t acknowledge the supernatural D. He sees it as a temporary phase
Answer: B. He sees it as familiar and ever-present influences
15. Which line from the poem suggests a permeability between past and present?
A. “All houses wherein men have lived and died” B. “The stranger at my fireside cannot see” C. “Through the open doors” D. “Our little lives are kept in equipoise”
Answer: C. “Through the open doors”
16. How are the ghosts described in relation to the dinner table?
A. As unexpected guests B. As the main hosts C. As distant observers D. As uninvited guests
Answer: A. As unexpected guests
17. How does Longfellow view memory in the poem?
A. As a burden B. As a fleeting moment C. As a living entity D. As a distant past
Answer: C. As a living entity
18. What does the “ethereal air” contrast with in the poem?
A. The spirit-world B. Earthly mists and vapours C. The open doors D. The undiscovered planet
Answer: B. Earthly mists and vapours
19. The “floating bridge of light” thrown by the moon is compared to what in the poem?
A. A pathway to the future B. A bridge connecting the spirit world and the present C. A reflection of human desires D. A bridge to the unknown realms of the universe
Answer: B. A bridge connecting the spirit world and the present
20. How does Longfellow describe the nature of our understanding of the intangible influences of the past?
A. Robust and concrete B. Doubtful and questionable C. Fragile and uncertain D. Ignored and dismissed
Answer: C. Fragile and uncertain
21. In the poem, what does the “vital breath of more ethereal air” represent?
A. Fresh beginnings B. Tangible experiences C. Spiritual influences D. Earthly connections
Answer: C. Spiritual influences
22. How are the pictures on the wall described in relation to the ghosts?
A. As dynamic and lively B. As noisy and disruptive C. As silent and static D. As colorful and vibrant
Answer: C. As silent and static
23. What does “mortmain” metaphorically represent in the poem?
A. Death and decay B. A binding legal document C. The enduring grip of the past D. An unknown realm
Answer: C. The enduring grip of the past
24. How does Longfellow describe the guests at the table compared to the hosts?
A. Fewer in number B. More in number C. Equally present D. Absent altogether
Answer: B. More in number
25. The “bridge of light” mentioned in the poem connects which two realms?
A. Earth and sky B. Past and future C. World of spirits and the present world D. Happiness and sorrow
Answer: C. World of spirits and the present world
26. What is the primary theme of Longfellow’s “Haunted Houses”?
A. The terror of haunted places B. The nostalgia of past memories C. The influence and presence of the past in our present lives D. The excitement of discovering unknown realms
Answer: C. The influence and presence of the past in our present lives
27. What kind of impression do the phantoms leave in the poem?
A. Destructive B. Impalpable C. Visible and tangible D. Loud and disturbing
Answer: B. Impalpable
28. Which element in the poem indicates the unseen influence shaping our desires?
A. The harmless phantoms B. The illuminated hall C. The undiscovered planet D. The dusty hands
Answer: C. The undiscovered planet
29. How does the poem convey the presence of unseen forces in our lives?
A. Through eerie and spooky descriptions B. By highlighting tangible effects on our daily activities C. Through subtle, omnipresent influences D. By emphasizing the power of dreams
Answer: C. Through subtle, omnipresent influences
30. What does Longfellow suggest about the connection between the past and the present?
A. The past is always haunting the present B. The past and present are completely disconnected C. The past has a silent and profound influence on the present D. The present is always overshadowed by the past
Answer: C. The past has a silent and profound influence on the present.
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