You will write an analytical essay that examines a poem’s deeper meaning or meanings. You must demonstrate your familiarity with the elements of poetry and you must also provide quotations from the text to support your assertions. In addition, you must incorporate two articles of literary criticism into your paper to provide a deeper understanding of the text. The purpose of the assignment is thus twofold. You will need to show your critical proficiency with the genre of poetry and you will need to demonstrate your ability to incorporate secondary sources into your paper. Your paper must be three-to-four pages long, it must be double-spaced and should be written in twelve- point font. Your essay should also have one-inch margins on all of its pages, top and bottom, left and right.
Choose a poem from among the following: They are all available online to read so google them.
Elizabeth Bishop “The Fish”
Emily Dickinson “The Soul Selects her own Society” or “I felt a Funeral in my Brain”
Carolyn Forche’ “The Colonel”
Robert Frost “The Road Not Taken” or “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”
Sylvia Plath “Daddy”
Step two: Consider the way in which the poet has used the elements of poetry to make meaning. Decide on the overall meaning of the poem and then carefully select one or two elements to support your thesis. You can also choose to discuss three elements of poetry but no more than that.
Step three: When you are familiar with your poem, you need to see what others have said about your chosen piece. You should Google “Modern American Poetry” and click on to its home page. This website offers excerpts of literary analyses of poetry. Choose two articles relevant to your selected poem. As you are reading these articles take notes and decide on the author’s main points. When you have completed your reading, you should integrate this critical material into the body of your text. You should provide at least one quotation from each of your secondary sources.
You will be evaluated according to the following criteria:
1) Your paper must clearly show how the poet has used the elements of poetry to make meaning.
2) Your paper must incorporate two critical sources into your paper using at least two quotations from each source.
3) Your paper must show how the critical sources extend our understanding of the poem.
4) Your paper must present a clear and interesting central idea (your thesis), it must demonstrate unity, provide sufficient support for its claims in the form of references to and quotations from the text, demonstrate coherence, use grammatically correct sentences, and use proper punctuation and spelling.
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