Choose one of the Poetry selections from this Unit. You can certainly choose the same poem you started to analyze in your Discussion, but you don’t have to.
You will closely read your chosen poem, examining its structural elements, patterns of figurative language, and other literary elements. Bear in mind that, much as we discovered about ads in the advertisement analysis forum, poems are carefully and purposefully crafted–consider that every choice in terms of structure, rhyme (or lack thereof), wording, and tone are deliberate and work to leave an intentional impression on the reader.
Read and reread the poem; by paying attention to the varied features of a poem, you will build an interpretation of how and why the parts of the poem work to create meaning, tone, theme, etc.
Remember that the poem is NOT a “riddle” to be “solved”– do not approach the poem as though there is a single “key” that must be used to unlock a sole specific “hidden meaning.” A poet usually does not craft a text in order to “trick” the reader. Instead, consider the ways that the author’s choices are all deliberately made to achieve particular effects in the reader–the text itself, the tones and connotations of the words chosen, the form, the allusions, the symbols, the imagery, and the sounds of the words when spoken aloud are all aspects to examine when analyzing the “what,” “how,” and “why” of a poem.
Use this handout to guide the structure of your paper.
See the Interpretation vs. Analysis, How to Approach the Analysis of a Poem, The Four Modes of Approaching a Poem, and the Explication pages, as well as the Sample Poetry Analysis using Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” for assistance.
Take notes and use your notes to create an outline of textual evidence that points to the same or a similar conclusion.
Use this outline to develop your working thesis. You can then use the guidelines on the Starting Your Poetry Analysis Essay page to write your introductory paragraph.
Read/review this Purdue OWL link on Close Reading of Poetry and this overview of how to write about poetry to help you develop your remaining paragraphs.
Draft your concluding paragraph, in which you will remind your reader of your overall purpose and potentially discuss its significance in a slightly broader context (for example, possibly relating it to other elements of the poem, the author’s work, or other poems).
Be sure to take time to revisit the appropriate way to quote and cite poetry in MLA format.
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