English 102 Paper 1-- Poem Analysis—125 points
First draft must be a minimum of four full pages in length to get credit.
Final draft must have workshopped/edited drafts attached behind. Highlight on this draft changes made from other drafts. Revisions are only permitted for on-time work.
In this paper, you will look closely at one poem. As part of your analysis, I would like you to consider the poem from the aspects we discussed in class—experience, interpret, and evaluate. It would be preferable to choose a poem of shorter length, so that you may discuss it in its entirety. However, if you want to choose a longer poem, you need not discuss it line by line, but rather focus on certain elements of your choosing. Based on that analysis, you should arrive at a final overarching conclusion, which is your thesis for your paper.
Length: 4-5 pages, double spaced, MLA format, with a separate title page, and your last name and page number in the upper right corner. Please include a works cited page. You must get accustomed to giving credit to any sources outside yourself and/or deem useful.
Introduction: Clearly introduce the poem, its author, the main point of the poem (as you interpret it, in one or two sentences), and your thesis. You might begin the introduction of your essay with a story which relates to the poem, an interesting, relevant bit of history revolving around the context of the poem, or a definition of a term that plays a major role in your analysis. (This could be a literary term, a word used by the poet, or a concept that emerged for you uniquely in your analysis). Define thoroughly and clearly. Be specific. Please underline your thesis (even if it’s three sentences long), as a reminder to both the audience and you what claim you are striving to prove in your essay. Think of your thesis as an answer to a yes or no question you have posed to yourself: (Yes) My Papa’s Waltz reveals the unconditional love of a son towards his father as the two enjoy a raucous dance through the Roethke’s use of meter, diction, and imagery.
Body paragraph 1: Your first body paragraph MUST analyze the structure of the poem. Discuss line length (how many stanzas? How long are the stanzas), meter (is it written in iambic pentameter, dactylic tetrameter, blank verse, free verse (etc)?). But don’t simply give a report on this information; show what the significance (evaluate!) of these structural elements is (with a few examples, to the best of your ability, how the structure reflects the poems meaning) with regard to the overall impact of the poem (synthesize! Conclude!). (If this is confusing, please see me for help!)
Other body paragraphs: Discuss a few other elements of the poem in depth that relate to interpretation and evaluation of the poem that relate to your thesis. Use concrete examples from the poem to illustrate your points. You must use literary elements to bolster your argumentation. Some examples are: imagery (how the author appeals to senses), sound devices (assonance, consonance, particular rhymes, onomatopoeia, etc), diction (word choice) or syntax (word order), tone (author’s attitude), mood (the “climate” of the poem, so to speak), themes (unconditional love, betrayal, rebirth, and so on), etc. Be sure to extract specifics from the poem. Once you’ve pulled the individual elements out via analysis, discuss meaning (evaluation), and what can be deduced or learned from tying this meaning to either some other point you’ve made or to the poem’s overall meaning (synthesis). In general it’s wise to follow the poem more or less sequentially from beginning to end, so that the logic of the poem becomes clear to the audience. Please develop/explain your ideas fully. If the theme of unconditional love (etc) is particularly important to note, discuss how, why—thoroughly, clearly, explicitly. (assonance, alliteration, etc).
Conclusion: You may restate the thesis, but please use fresh diction to do so. Part with a thought that turns your analysis to some other subject: parenting, current relationships, current politics, etc. Again, this is a final element of synthesis which allows the reader to tie your discussion to life elsewhere—makes the scope of your discussion broader, applicable in the end. Please do not write “in conclusion;” readers can see it’s your last paragraph. Try to make a closing transition, if you want to use one, original.
Please proofread carefully for typos, clarity of ideas, proper grammar, appropriate topic sentences and transitions. Strong transitions are often one of the final steps in papers, as they are put in place when you can see how various body paragraphs work together. Use transitions as reminders of some aspect of your thesis.
Choose one poem from the Di Yanni book. I would prefer you use one which was assigned. If you don’t plan to do an assigned poem, you MUST solicit my approval.
Some helpful terms about rhymes, stanzas, poem forms, etc: