To learn to write an analysis about a poem for a general audience.
To analyze a poem using literary terminology.
To articulate the poems overall meaning based on the lens of a literary theory. You are all using new criticism (Links to an external site.) for this this essay, the same theory you used in essay 1. However, if you are familiar with and choose to analyze it using another theory (e.g. queer theory, feminist theory, historicism, or psychoanalytic theory), please let me know and this will be allowed!
Write an essay on ONE of the poems listed below where you analyze its language and images, using up to 4 literary devices, in order to interpret the poems overall meaning. Please note that essay 1 was similar in that you were assigned to use one literary device, but for your poetry essay, you can use up to 4 literary devices. However, more is not necessarily better, as you want to give multiple examples of each literary device you plan to use. For example, 3 paragraphs of 3 different elements is not as thorough as, say, 4 or 5 paragraphs focused on just 1 or 2 literary devices. This week’s sample essay actually only uses one literary device, so again, more is not always better.
Hughes Theme for English B (Links to an external site.)
Olds The One Girl at the Boys Party (Links to an external site.)
Piercy “To Be of Use” (Links to an external site.)
Sanchez right on: white america (Links to an external site.)
750-1000 words (approx. 3-4 pages) not including the Works Cited page; MLA formatting (Links to an external site.). – This essay is slightly shorter, since we are spending less time on poetry.
Remember to include your word count at the end of your essay, and also a Works Cited page that cites your poem. Outside/additional sources are not required, but if you choose to use one to help you with your analysis, then you must make sure to quote and cite it, and include it on your Works Cited page. Failing to do this can look like plagiarism!
Use your chosen literary devices (examples: tone, word choice, imagery) to explain what the poem means.
Use examples from the text to convincingly support the claims you’re making.
When quoting extensively, take time to explain the specific parts (letters, sounds, words, punctuation, etc.) in the quote that prove your point.
Avoid simply restating each line, but analyze and discuss the words/lines with a purpose.
Use the present tense when describing or discussing events in the poem. In writing about literature, the convention is to always use the present tense throughout. The idea is that the poet is currently communicating thoughts to you in the present time.
Ensure you have correctly spelled all names and titles. Put the name of the poem in double-quotation marks. When referring to the poet, write out his/her full name (and later references can be last name only).
Dont confuse the poet with the speaker of the poem – they are different.
Remember to put quotation marks at the beginning and end of each quoted part. Review this useful handout about quoting poetry.