English 102 – 1st Essay: Poetry
Below are possible topic ideas. Choose one of the topics and write a well-organized, well-supported essay. The topics are intentionally broad and need to be narrowed to a workable thesis. You need not answer all of the questions under the topic. Instead, do a close reading on a particular part of a poem. Do not turn in a summary. You need to compare two or three poems under the same theme; do not use more than three poems for your essay. You may consider the structure of the poems: consider the images presented and the mood they generate; prove by support. Do not do any research. Use only support from the poems.
- Consider the relationship between Mankind and Nature. How do the poems comment on the power of Nature? Why does humankind admire and yet fear Nature? How does humankind try to contain it? Possible poems to consider: Basho’s haiku (“An old pond…”); “In the Station of the Metro”; “r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-r”; “The Tyger”; “The Panther”; “Darkness”; “The Road Not Taken”; “pity this monster; manunkind”.
- Discuss the complexity of love, as depicted in these poems. How do men and women treat each other in these poems? How do they conflict with one another? What causes this friction of “not understanding” each other? Possible poems to consider: “Barbara Allen”; “Lord Randall”; Shakespeare’s Sonnets 18, 29, 73, 75, 130, and/or 147; “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”; “Daddy”.
- Discuss the passing of time in poetry. How does the poet depict this passing of time? What is his/her attitude about mortality? Possible poems to consider: “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”; “The Road Not Taken”; “Because I could not stop for Death”; Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73; "Ozymandias"; "Archaic Torso of Apollo".
- Discuss the persona’s position in his/her social surroundings, as portrayed in the poems. How is his/her identity being defined? Does he/she regret his/her social status? Accept it? How does he/she confront authority? Consider the various circumstances that would cause a person to act out in his/her way. Possible poems to consider: “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”; “The Road Not Taken”; “America”; “Daddy”; “pity this busy monster; manunkind”; “A Hard Rain A-Gonna Fall”; "How to Make a Dadaist Poem"; Sonnet 29; "Ozymandias".
The essay must be at least four (4) pages, typed and double-spaced. It should include a title page, a Work Cited page, and proper citation, with author’s last name or title of the poem and page numbers in parenthesis: e.g. (Shelley 500).
If you are referring to a text from my profile page, the author’s last name or the title of the poem is fine: e.g. (Dylan). To list a text from my profile page to the Work Cited page, list author’s name (last name, first name). “Title of Poem.” Professor’s name (first name, last name). Title of Class. n.d. (no date published). Web. date access (day Month year). For example:
Dylan, Bob. “A Hard Rain A-Gonna Fall.” Prof. Mark Nishimura. College Reading and Composition II.
n.d. Web. 12 Sept 2013.
The essay is due on Thursday, September 26, at the beginning of the class. Feel free to show me any ideas or drafts that you have been working on during my office hours or by appointment. I will be happy to give you my insight as long as it is given to me well in advance.