2Getting Started…This is a process to help you organize your analysis of poetry.We have already learned the vocabulary, now it’s time to put it into practice!Together, we are going to analyze “American Hero” using T-PCASTT.Now, please copy the next chart in yournotebook…
3“American Hero” to this sheet! Add your analysis of“American Hero” to this sheet!
4T is for TITLE Analyze the title first. (“American Hero”) What do you predict this poem will be about?Write down your predictions.We will reflect on the title again after we have read the poem.The next step is often omitted, but it is the most important!!!!
6American Hero By Essex Hemphill I have nothing to lose tonight. All my men surround me, panting, as I spin the ball above our heads on my middle finger. It’s a shimmering club light and I’m dancing, slick in my sweat. Squinting, I aim at the hole fifty feet away. I let the tension go. Shoot for the net. Choke it. I never hear the ball slap the backboard. I slam it through the net. The crowd goes wild for our win. I scored thirty-two points this game and they love me for it. Everyone hollering is a friend tonight. But there are towns, certain neighborhoods where I’d be hard pressed to hear them cheer if I move on the block.
7P is for PARAPHRASEParaphrasing is putting something in your own words.After reading the poem, rewrite it in your own words.This may be three sentences or a page, depending on the particular poem.
8C is for CONNOTATIONapostropheASSONANCEAnalyze the figures of speech and sound effects of the poem.These are the poetry vocabulary we have already studied.These elements add to the meaning.alliterationRHYMEpersonificationdictiononomatopoeiametersimileONOMATOPEIAHYPERBOLEmetaphorconsonance
9Onomatopoeia is a critical element in this poem. What words are used to help the reader hear the sounds ofthe basketball game?Words like panting, hollering, slap, and slam helpthe reader feel like he or she is at the big game.Since this poem is free verse, meaning there is no rhymescheme, the alliteration adds to the rhythm.
10A is for ATTITUDETone is the attitude of the speaker toward the subject of the poem.
11Don’t Confuse Tone & Mood! * Tone and mood are two different aspectsof a poem!* Tone is the author's or the poet's attitudetowards his or her subject.* Therefore, the tone in this poem would behow Hemphill feels about the game ofbasketball and the fans.* The tone seems to be bitter and resentfulsince the fans are so shallow.
12S is for SHIFT If there is a change in… Time Tone Mood Speaker This should always be noted as this will also affect the meaning.
13Shift in MoodMood is how the poem makes the reader or the listener feel.For example, at the beginning of the poem, the mood is excited and elevated as the speaker plays ball and scores points.But, the mood becomes more somber and serious towards the end of the poem as the reader discovers the superficiality of the fans’ cheering.
14T is for TITLE (again)At this time, you should reconsider the title.Were you right in your predictions?What other meanings might the title have in light of your analysis?Next, the biggie….
15T is for THEMEAs you already know, theme is the general insight into life conveyed by the author through his/her work.It does not make a judgment.example: “Don’t do drugs” is not a theme.It merely states something that is true to life and the human condition.
16How do I find the THEME? Look at the other parts of TPCASTT. What insight are all of these working together to convey?What is the poet trying to say about life?
17THEME of “American Hero” Sometimes people are appreciated for their talents and not as a person.The crowd likes the player while he is scoring points on the court, but they would not want to be his friend off thecourt.Some people can’t see past the color of someone’s skin.Discrimination is a big part of the world we live in.