Analyze ONE poem in a clear essay, proving a single thesis
There’s a printable version in modules week 2 if you’d like.
How to do this: first annotate the poem, looking for metaphors, symbols, tone, and all the other devices we’ve been learning. My recommended thesis is “The author uses devices like ______, ______, and _____ to enhance a theme/message of ____________. (this may be a five paragraph essay but doesn’t have to be)
Another possible thesis is something like “the author uses imagery and symbolism of youth versus those of aging to show readers that life is short.” This may help you organize:
Your essay should be more than a page, with short quotes from the poem to support your explanations.
Do not use I or I think, do not tell me whether you liked the poem, and do not use words like maybe/I guess/kind of. Keep your analysis in present tense. In literary analysis, dont use I, you, or we. We say The speaker and the audience.
This is an analysis essay: You should use short pieces of quotes or comments on what happens in the text then multiple sentences (perhaps even a whole paragraph) explaining what this is doing, in paragraphs that support your thesis. EVERY SENTENCE SHOULD OFFER NEW INFO. In a literary analysis paper, you explain how the authors artistry creates a deeper meaning, perhaps even an unexpected one. Sentences about how you didn’t understand the poem, or even how it’s not clear who the audience is are not the right way to go. Instead, you should pick an interpretation–anything’s fine if you can back it up. “There’s a great deal of evidence that the beloved is a ghost. (insert evidence) This word choice adds a melancholy tone, emphasizing that she’ll never be reunited with her lost love”–This would be much better than “maybe the speaker is this, maybe this…I don’t know.” There are sample essays in our optional textbook. Ill also post a few for us.
Death Is Intended
by Linda Pastan, 2005, USA
On Feb 6, 67-year-old Guy Watermannaturalist, outdoorsman, husband decided to climb a New Hampshire Mountain, lie down on the cold stones and die overnight of exposure. Death is intended, he wrote. New York Times Book Review
.. .the melancholy beauty of giving it all up. Robert Hass
Isnt that what Eskimos did when they were old,
dragged themselves through a wilderness
of ice and up some mountain?
Then they could fall asleep forever,
their dark eyes speckled with falling snow
not suicide exactly, but the opening
of a door so death could enter.
Quit while youre ahead, my father told me
as I was feeding quarters into slot machines.
And thats what Waterman did, he quit
before infirmity could catch him, or other afflictions
whose breath he could already smell.
But I wanted more: a waterfall of coins
spilt on my lap, the raw electric charge
of money. I came away with nothing,
but I still want more, if only more chapters
in the family book Im part of: I want
to read all the unfolding storieseach child
a mystery only time can solve.
Was it bravery or cowardice, what Waterman did,
or are those simply two sides of a coin,
like the coin some casual God might flip,
deciding who would live or die that day?
Id rather flip the coin myself but not at 67.
And not quite yet, I tell myself at 70, as spring
streams in over our suburban hills, enflaming
even the white New Hampshire mountains.
Dara Wier, 2008, USA
You come as close as the skin on my face,
As if you were a sure enough wind for me to walk into.
In woodgrain on a doorframe of a door I walk out of
You wander and I wander with you.
With luciferin, luciferase* and oxygen you light the way.
A mid-summers late evening scatters you so
That by midnight all of the stars that surround us
By morning by cresting by curving by blazing,
You are light that has passed through my eyes.
I see you in profile as if sharpened and stenciled
Examining creases in the palm of my hand.
Exchanging places in ground fog with black flares.
What is this translucence youve dropped between us,
When will a sure enough wind arrive to blow this curtain aside?
*Compounds that glow naturally, found in fireflies