20. “anyone lived In a pretty how town” Responses
20. Respond with higher-order critical thinking to the following prompts about “anyone lived in a pretty how town” by E. E. Cummings.
1. Summarize the story told in this poem. Who are the characters?
2. Rearrange the words in the two opening lines into the order you would expect them usually to follow. What effect does Cummings obtain by his unconventional word order?
3. Another of Cummings’s strategies is to use one part of speech as if it were another; for instance, in line four, didn’t and did ordinarily are verbs, but here they are used as nouns. What other words in the poem perform functions other than their expected ones?
19. In-Class Exercise: “Fire and Ice”
19. Revise and finalize your in-class exercise: “Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost.
1. To whom does Frost refer in line 1? In line 2?
2. What connotations of fire and ice contribute to the richness of Frost’s comparison?
3. What is a theme of the poem?
18. “The Chimney Sweeper” Responses
18. Respond with higher-order critical thinking to the following prompts about “The Chimney Sweeper” by William Blake.
1. What does Blake’s poem reveal about conditions of life in the London of his day?
2. What does this poem have in common with “The Golf Links”?
3. Sum up your impressions of the speaker’s character. What does he say and do that displays it to us?
4. What pun do you find in line three? Is its effect comic or serious?
5. In Tom Dare’s dream, what wishes come true? Do you understand them to be wishes of the chimneysweepers, of the poet, or of both?
6. In the last line, what is ironic in the speaker’s assurance that the dutiful need not fear harm? What irony is there in his urging all to do their duty? (Who have failed in their duty to him?)
7. What is the tone of Blake’s poem? Angry? Hopeful? Sorrowful? Compassionate? (Don’t feel obliged to sum it up in a single word.)
21. “Jabberwocky” Responses
21. Respond with higher-order critical thinking to the following prompts about “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll.
1. Look up chortled (line 24) and find out its definition and origin.
2. In Through the Looking Glass, Alice seeks the aid of Humpty Dumpty to decipher the meaning of this nonsense poem. “Brillig,” he explains, “means four o’clock in the afternoon—the time when you begin broiling things for dinner.” Does “brillig” sound like any other familiar word?
3. “Slithy,” the explanation goes on, “means ‘lithe and slimy.’ ‘Lithe’ is the same as ‘active.’ You see it’s like a portmanteau—there are two meanings packed up into one word.” “Mimsy” is supposed to pack together both “flimsy” and “miserable.” I the rest of the poem, what other portmanteau—or packed suitcase—words can you find?
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