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The Song of Hugh Glass

The Song of Hugh Glass by John Neihardt

The Song of Hugh Glass by John Neihardt

This poem tells a story that begins in 1823 – just after the Leavenworth campaign against the Arikara Indians – and follows an expedition of Major Andrew Henry during a series of arduous journeys over the Trans-Missouri region. The poem focuses upon the relationship between two trappers – Hugh Glass and Jamie – who, after fighting and hunting together, consequently develop a close friendship. The poem revolves around the betrayal of Hugh by Jamie: who leaves Hugh alone “as good as dead” to die by the Missouri. But Hugh lives – and recovers against all odds, pushing on with murderous intent to track down the ex-friend who left him helpless and expiring. The final canto describes the moving denouement: Hugh and Jamie both are forced to recognize their own weaknesses, and then come to terms with the implications of their individual realizations.

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