Writing a essay about poem

For example, it may be an archetypal Romantic exploration of man and nature. In this it can be helpful to say something about the mode of the poem and identify its genre or form if you can. For example, is it rhetorical, contemplative or close to a song? Is it narrative or descriptive? Is it an elegy?

Is it a sonnet? A commentary should be concerned with the passage or poem as a whole, but it should also show the development through the passage or poem.


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This means that an appropriate structure for writing a commentary may be to follow this development. To do so in an illuminating way will very likely involve paying attention to the compositional structure of the passage or poem: does it divide into sections and, if so, how?

A Guide To Writing A Poem

What is the compositional movement through the passage or poem? As you write your commentary you should be looking to illuminate the theme or themes or mood or emotion that the passage or poem illustrates and explores. This is not just a matter of identifying the theme but also of looking at how it is presented. How does the theme develop? How do contrasting themes relate?

Is the theme typical of the story as a whole? When you refer to the passage or poem, this should be done clearly and succinctly by reference, for example, to first, second etc. You do not therefore need to quote large sections from the text. In a story or novel, the theme of the passage may be linked to characterisation. In this case you should consider not only what is revealed about a character but also how this is done, and maybe relate this to other aspects of the passage too.

Choosing a Poem to Analyze

In general, in prose you need to pay particular attention to questions of narration: what is the narrative viewpoint and does it shift? What is the role of the narrator? Is there direct or indirect interior monologue?


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  6. 5 Writing a commentary on a passage of prose, poem or historical document.
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  8. How does irony function in the passage? What is the role of dialogue or description? What is the significance of the key words or motifs? Is there any use of imagery? Are there any metaphors or similes? What is their significance? Are they standard or original? Are there any other tropes — exaggeration, paradox etc.?

    When looking at style in terms of lexis and syntax, you should consider what kinds of word are being used and their register. Does one particular part of speech play a particularly significant role? Are there a lot of adjectives or verbs? Is the lexis conversational? How does the choice of words relate to characterisation? In terms of syntax, pay attention to sentence type and structure. Are there questions or exclamations?


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    Is the syntax simple or complex or convoluted? Is it ornate? If you are studying the texts in translation, it may be difficult to comment on aspects of style.

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    Alexander Pope

    Speaker - the person delivering the poem. Remember, a poem does not have to have a speaker, and the speaker and the poet are not necessarily one in the same. Look for: Repeated elements in action, gesture, dialogue, description, as well as shifts in direction, focus, time, place, etc. Structure poetry - The pattern of organization of a poem. For example, a Shakespearean sonnet is a line poem written in iambic pentameter.

    Because the sonnet is strictly constrained, it is considered a closed or fixed form.

    What Is Poetry? | NEA

    Symbolism - when an object is meant to be representative of something or an idea greater than the object itself. Tone - the implied attitude towards the subject of the poem. Is it hopeful, pessimistic, dreary, worried? A poet conveys tone by combining all of the elements listed above to create a precise impression on the reader. We encourage the educational use of the OWL. The Terms of Use explains the specific permissions granted. Literary Analysis: Using Elements of Literature Students are asked to write literary analysis essays because this type of assignment encourages you to think about how and why a poem, short story, novel, or play was written.

    Jekyll and Mr. Antagonist - A character or force that opposes the protagonist. Minor character - Often provides support and illuminates the protagonist. Static character - A character that remains the same. Dynamic character - A character that changes in some important way. Personification - giving non-human objects human characteristics America has thrown her hat into the ring, and will be joining forces with the British. Foot - grouping of stressed and unstressed syllables used in line or poem Iamb - unstressed syllable followed by stressed Made famous by the Shakespearian sonnet, closest to the natural rhythm of human speech How do I love thee?

    Suspense - The tension that the author uses to create a feeling of discomfort about the unknown Conflict - Struggle between opposing forces. Exposition - Background information regarding the setting, characters, plot. Narrator - The person telling the story who may or may not be a character in the story. Second person - Narrator addresses the reader directly as though she is part of the story. Does not assume character's perspective and is not a character in the story.

    The narrator reports on events and lets the reader supply the meaning. Omniscient - All-knowing narrator multiple perspectives.

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