The Haunted Palace

Guidelines for Essay #2: Poetry Analysis
Guidelines for Essay #2 Literary Analysis

Essay #2 is an example of an analytical paper on a literary topic.

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Pick a song or poem of your choice.
Follow the steps on our Moodle site on how to analyze poetry.
Use the Checklist for Poetry Analysis and discover the poetic elements used in the song/poem.
Then write up a poetry analysis (4-5 FULL pages) of what you think the poem/song means, giving specific quotes from the poem/song to support your comments.
Use at least two outside sources of info about the poem/song to cite in your paper.
Use MLA format.
As with any essay, Essay #2 should have an introduction, body, and conclusion along with internal citations and a works cited page.


State the title (in “”) of the poem/song and the author, ie. “The Garden of Love” by William Blake.

Give some background/biographical info on the author.

Summarize the points you are going to make about the poem (elements you will discuss).


Paraphrase the poem/song in one paragraph.
Discuss the poetic elements of the poem/song. Identify them and give specific examples/quotes from the poem/song. (3-5 paragraphs)
Explain what you think the meaning of the poem/song is. (3-5 paragraphs)
Explain how the outside info you’ve gathered supports your interpretation of the poem/song.


Restate poem title and author.

Summarize your main points.

End with a point of interest.

Works Cited page (MLA format):

List any sources you used.

Copy of the poem/song lyrics you analyzed.

Make sure you attach a copy of the poem or lyrics you are analyzing.

Remember: As with any academic essay, you cannot use the following:

contractions (can’t, don’t),

slang (kids, a lot, guys),

qualifying statements (I think, In my opinion, I believe),

second person (you, your, yours)

unless they are part of a quote.

Use correct grammar and documentation format (internal citations AND works cited page.

Plan for your essay to be between 3-5 pages, typed, double-spaced in 12-point Times New Roman font, using MLA format and documentation, both internal citation and a works cited page. Minimum of 3 sources.

MLA Definition of Plagiarism

There are basically two kinds of plagiarism:

(1) Using another person’s exact words without including quotation marks and citation.

If you use someone else’s exact words, then you must cite the original source in the text of your paper and on your works cited page, and you must enclose the words in quotation marks or else set them off from the rest of the text by indenting them from the other text.

(2) Summarizing or paraphrasing another person’s words without citation. If you use what someone else has written, but you describe it or summarize it in your own words, then you don’t need to enclose it in quotation marks, but you still must provide a citation directly in the text of your paper and on your works cited page.

Note that it’s not enough simply to include a reference to the original source on your works cited page; “citation” of the original source also means citing it where it appears in the text of your paper.

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