Poem Analysis and Differentiation

Topics For your second essay, choose a topic from the following list:

1.Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and the anonymous Miss W. clearly both had very strong but different reactions to Jonathan Swift’s poem “The Lady’s Dressing Room.” In your opinion, which poem, “The Reasons that Induced Dr. S. to Write a Poem Call’d the Lady’s Dressing Room” or “The Gentleman’s Study,” more effectively refutes Swift’s claims regarding the dirty personal habits and moral failings of women and why?

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2.William Wordsworth’s “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood” and Samuel Taylor Coleridge “Dejection: An Ode,” written in response, both explore the subjects of childhood, nature, and poetic inspiration. How would you compare what these two poets have to say on these three subjects?

3.A number of poems on the syllabus this semester address the theme of death: Alexander Pope’s “Epitaphs. On Two Lovers Struck Dead by Lightning,” Montagu’s “Epitaph on John Hughes and Sara Drew,” James Montgomery’s “The Common Lot,” and George Gordon, Lord Byron’s “Answer to a Beautiful Poem, Written by Montgomery . . . Entitled ‘The Common Lot.’” What do you make of the different ways in which each of these writers comes to terms with the inevitability of death?

4.Lord Alfred Tennyson’s “Lady Clara Vere de Vere,” Henry S. Leigh’s “The Answer of Lady Clara Vere de Vere,” Rudyard Kipling’s “The Vampire,” and Felicia Blake’s “A Woman’s Answer to The Vampire” are all engaging with a Romantic literary type, that of the femme fatale. How do these poems each contribute towards the development of the femme fatale as a literary type? What do you make of these various examples of the femme fatale?

5.In their own ways, Pablo Neruda’s “Fable of the Mermaid and the Drunks” and Suzanne Frishkorn’s “The Mermaid Takes Issue with the Fable” can be seen as retelling the famous fairy tale, “The Little Mermaid,” by Hans Christian Andersen. How do Neruda and Frishkorn both rework this story and what use are they making of it?

6.Yannos Ritsos’ “Women,” Sue Standing’s “Men,” Langston Hughes’ “Theme for English B,” and Afaa Michael Weaver’s “Theme for Intermediate Chinese” all draw inspiration from the material of ordinary life and the way in which identity politics and power dynamics of different kinds play out in mundane day-to-day experiences and little details. Compare what each has to say on this particular subject.

7.With his poem “The Golden Shovel,” Terrance Hayes invents what has become an influential formal innovation in poetry. Essentially, “The Golden Shovel” takes Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem “We Real Cool” and builds lines using Brooks’ poem to provide the last word for each new line. Hayes uses the same method to create “Last Train to Africa” from Elizabeth Alexander’s poem “Ladders.” What does this formal innovation bring to Hayes’ engagement with the work of these other poets?

8.In different ways, William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead can be seen as experimenting with tragedy as an established literary form. How are Shakespeare and Stoppard both responding to a traditional conception of tragedy that centeres on the fall of a great man, who suffers due to a fatal error and blindness to consequence directly leading not only to his own downfall but also to that of many of the characters around him. What is each finally saying about what constitutes the essence of tragedy?

9.As a reworking of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, Bruce Norris’ Cleburne Park makes a number of interesting formal choices. Notably, the action of Act 1 and Act 2 takes place in the same house but fifty years apart and features different characters (albeit four of them played by the same actors). Howard Shalwitz, the artistic director for a 2011 Woolly Mammoth Theatre Washington, DC production of Cleburne Park, notes how it explores a “complex reversal around race and gentrification” over a five decades in the same Chicago neighbourhood.1 What story do Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun and Norris’ Cleburne Park tell together around race and gentrification in late twentieth-century and early-twenty-first century America, into the presidency of Barack Obama (Norris apparently writing parts of his play shortly before and other parts shortly after Obama’s election)? er parts shortly after Obama’s election)?

10.In writing her prequel to Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys alters many of the details of the original novel. In your view, what is the significance of these alterations and how do they make the reader reconsider and re-evaluate the story of Jane Eyre? Note: The essay should have an introductory paragraph (including a lead-in, thesis statement, and map points clearly outlined), a main body (including paragraphs that correspond to the map points set out in the introduction), and a conclusion (including a restatement of the thesis and some attempt to take the essay in a new direction). There should also be a Works Cited page. Formatting should conform to MLA guidelines. Style and grammar will be corrected with the revision symbols in Diana Hacker’s A Canadian Writer’s Reference. The essay should be around four to six double spaced pages in length or 1750 to 2000 words. Going a little over is acceptable. Essays that are too short may be penalized. One secondary source is required for this particular assignment (and both primary and secondary sources need to be included in the Works Cited). The assignment is worth 30% of your final. For more information on Poem Analysis and Differentiation visit this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poetry_analysis

Poem Analysis and Differentiation

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