2About the Selection“The Bridegroom” is a variation on the familiar folk story of a worthy young person standing up to declare independence and becoming heroic by doing so.The poem raises questions about fate, wishes, and particularly about making choices for yourself.
3ForeshadowingForeshadowing is when the author gives hints as to what will happen next in a story.You can use writer’s hints at future events to make predictions.
4Words to Know Foreboding – feeling that something bad will happen Tumult – noisy commotion
5Poetry Terms Narrative Poem A poem that tells a story, contains a conflict, and has a resolution.AlliterationRepetition of consonant sounds.(Line 16) “She sat with her sisters.”
6Poetry Terms Repetition Repeating words or phrases to add emphasis (Line 29) “It was he! It was he!”
7Making PredictionsWhat does Natasha’s strange behavior followed by renewed cheerfulness lead the reader to predict about future events?Her strange behavior together with the fact that she’s been gone for three days, points to a troubling future.
8Word UsageTroika – a Russian carriage or sleigh drawn by a team of three horses harnessed side by side
9ComprehensionWhat is Natasha’s reaction to the young man in the troika?Natasha is terrified.
10CultureHistorically, marriage was regarded as an alliance between two families, rather than just between two individuals. Wealthy families could add to the their money and power through a child’s marriage. Marriage was also a means of bringing peace between former enemies.
11MatchmakerA matchmaker is an intermediary whose responsibility is to arrange a marriage to the satisfaction of both families involved.The matchmaker in “The Bridegroom” looked for a man who was handsome, young, rich, and generous for Natasha to marry.
12ComprehensionWhy is Natasha silent when the matchmaker comes to talk to the family about a possible groom?Her silence suggests that she is strong, independent, and perhaps considerate of her parents’ feelings, or that there is something she feels she cannot tell them.
13ForeshadowingWhat does Natasha’s sobbing and shuddering when her father agrees to the match foreshadow?It predicts that she will not go happily into the wedding.Since Natasha is terrified of the young man on the troika, this foreshadows that something surprising will happen at the wedding.
14Making PredictionsWhy does Natasha suddenly become calm after the matchmaker splashes water in her face?She realizes she has no choice and will have to go through with the wedding.She may also have already hatched a plan to get out of the marriage.
15Making PredictionsNatasha says (line 87-88), “…and call the law to the feast.”Why does she invite the law to her wedding?This foreshadows the arrest of the bridegroom.
16Natasha’s DreamIn Natasha’s dream, she hides behind the stove in a hut in the woods and watches twelve unruly men and a sad, quiet woman.One of the men kills the woman and cuts off her hand.
17Natasha Why does Natasha refuse to eat or drink at the wedding feast? She does not intend to celebrate the upcoming nuptials.She must keep a clear head to allow her plan to work.
18Question #2 Summarize the first eight lines of the poem. After disappearing for three days, Natasha returns home upset. She refuses to answer her parents’ questions.Where was she during the three days she was missing?She probably witnessed the murder.
19Question #3 Describe Natasha’s reaction to the wedding. At first Natasha is upset, but then she appears to accept the marriage.What accounts for this switch in attitude?She probably felt safe in confronting the bridegroom as murderer with her family and friends surrounding her.
20Question #4How does Natasha respond to her bridegroom’s question about why his bride is so sad?She tells him a dream has been haunting her.Did Natasha have the “evil” dream she describes?No, she is using the dream to make her case.
21Question #5How does Natasha’s attitude at the beginning contrast with her behavior at the end?At the beginning, she seems fragile and shy. At the end, she is courageous and independent.How can we account for the change?She has been able to bring the bridegroom to justice and avoid the marriage.
22Question #7 Why is the setting of the poem important? The poem could only take place in a culture that practiced matchmaking.Would the setting be realistic today?It wouldn’t unless it was set in a culture that still practiced arranged marriages.
24About the SelectionHughes captures the lazy repetition and syncopated rhythm of the blues by using long sentences interrupted by shorter ones.The repeated long o and oo sounds echo like the crooning of a blues singer.Like a story within a story, the poem conveys the “blues” of the life of a blues musician.
25Vocabulary pallor – lack of color; unnatural paleness melancholy – sad and depressedSyncopated – rhythm shifted to the normally weak beats
26TermsTone is the attitude of the poet for the subject/ person addressed in the poemRhythm is the pattern of beat, of stressed and unstressed syllables in a poem.Rhyme is the repeating of final sounds in two or more words.Imagery is the word pictures that help readers see, hear, smell, taste, or feel.
27BackgroundThe earliest ancestors of the blues are African slave songs, which were musical forms of communication among slaves on plantations.The blues, which often deal with the hardships of life, have influenced musical styles as varied as jazz, rock-and-roll, rhythm-and-blues, and soul music.
28Tone What is the tone of the poem? The tone of the poem is relaxed but tired and sad.Words such as poor piano, moan, rickety stool, and sad, raggy tune help to convey this tone.
29Tone Why did the poet choose this tone? The melancholy (sad) tone echoes the sadness of the blues music that is the subject of the poem.
30Word Root-Chol- refers to bile, a digestive fluid that was once believed to control health and attitude.Melancholy literally means “black bile,” which supposedly caused depression.
31Alliteration Alliteration is repetition of consonant sounds. What examples exist in line 1?“Droning a drowsy syncopated tune…”
32Repetition Repetition is the repeating of words of phrases. What lines are repeated in the poem?“He did a lazy sway…” (lines 6-7)“got the weary blues” (lines 25,27)“can’t be satisfied” (lines 26, 28)What is the purpose of the repetition?The sound mimics the rhythm of a drum.
33Onomatopoeia Onomatopoeia is a word that sounds like what it means. What example of onomatopoeia is in line 23?“thump, thump, thump”The sound mimics the sound of the rhythm.
34Rhyme What are examples of words from the poem that rhyme? Tune/croon Night/lightKey/melodyStool/foolTone/moanSelf/shelfFloor/moreSatisfied/diedTune/moonBed/head/dead
35RecallWhat words does Hughes use to describe the way the man plays the piano?He uses words such as drowsy, syncopated, moan, sad, and raggy.Based on these descriptions, how would you describe the personality of the piano player?He is easy-going and sad.
36Paraphrase Rewrite lines 19-22. I don’t have anybody in this world. I don’t have anybody but myself. I’m going to quit frowning and put my troubles on the shelf.Based on these lyrics, how would you characterize the blues?The blues offer people a way to express their pain so they can move on.
37Evaluate How well does Hughes capture the music he describes? He captures both the rhythm and the mood.The rhythm is captured in the different line lengths and in the repetition.The mood is captured by words such as weary, melancholy, and died.
38Application Why do you think people sing and play blues music? They sing and play to express their struggles and to create something that’s comforting and beautiful.
40About the SelectionAt the opening of this poem, the conflict seems to be resolved --- the fish is caught.As the poem continues, the speaker reveals an internal conflict that leads to an outcome most readers may not expect.
41Vocabularyvenerable – worthy of respect or reverence because of age, character, or positioninfested – overrunsullen – gloomy; sad
42Poetry Terms Metaphor – a comparison of two unlike things How is “Here and there/ his brown skin hung in strips/ like ancient wallpaper,/ and its pattern of darker brown/ was like wallpaper…” a metaphor?The speaker compares the skin of the fish to wallpaper.This also introduces visual imagery.
43Visual ImageryVisual imagery produces something that you can see a picture of in your mind.Find examples of visual imagery in the poem.“like ancient wallpaper”“like full-blown roses”“speckled with barnacles”“the pink swim-bladder like a big peony”
44AllusionAn allusion is when the poet uses another literary work in his poem.What is the allusion in line 75?“rainbow”What does it mean?It refers to the biblical story of Noah when after the flood God sends a rainbow to promise there would be no more destruction.”
45Allusion What does the allusion mean to the fish? When the speaker releases the fish, it is promised a new day, a chance to fight again another day.Why is “rainbow” repeated three times?The rainbow mimics the ripples in the water when the speaker returns the fish.
46Comprehension What sort of fight does the fish put up? No fight at all.
47InterpretationThe speaker says, “victory filled up the little boat.” Who has achieved victory --- the speaker or the fish?Some say the fish achieved the victory because it has so many “medals” and battle scars.Others may say that the speaker feels victorious after catching such a great fish.
48Types of Imagery Visual – imagery of sight Auditory – imagery of sound Tactile – imagery of touchOlfactory – imagery of smellGustatory – imagery of tasteKinesthetic – imagery of motion
49Making PredictionsHow do lines 34 and 45 help the reader predict the outcome of the poem?The speaker has begun to view the fish as a conscious being.
50Question #2 What does the speaker find in the fish’s lower lip? She finds four or five pieces of fishing line and five hooks in the fish’s jaw.What does this discovery indicate about the fish?This indicates that the fish had already been caught four or five times, but had gotten away.
51Question #4 How can compassion be a sign of strength? A person who shows compassion is strong enough not to have to prove his or her strength.The speaker’s compassion motivates her to release the fish.