Title Paraphrase Connotation Attitude Shifts Title Theme
Speculate (guess) what the poem might be about, based on its title.
Now read the poem (pg. 699). When you’re finished, paraphrase the poem (basically, rewrite the poem in your own words – line by line!)
Connotation refers to the feelings and associations a word invokes in you. For example, it’s typically OK to be called “thin.” However, how do you feel being called “skinny, boney?” Perhaps these words carry a “negative connotation” to them …
When it comes to TPCASTT and poetry, connotation deals with how the words and language contribute to the meaning(s) of the poem.
Time to take the plunge (yes, that is a metaphor) …
First stanza Symbolism in the very first verse: Why does the author mention a “bridge on Seventeenth”? What is the symbolism of “high grass”? In other words, why do you think Stafford wrote that the motorcycle is in high grass? (Tip: Look beyond the literal.) Stanza theme:
Second stanza Imagery: Which words/phrases create vivid images for the reader? In your opinion, how do these images make the protagonist feel about the motorcycle? Think about how you feel when you see something majestic, beautiful. Stanza theme:
Third stanza Imagination! How does the protagonist feel about possibly taking the motorcycle? How might a person be feeling if he/she feels a “tremble” in his/her hand? How would you feel about doing something forbidden? Stanza theme:
Fourth stanza Why is the protagonist “Thinking” in the first verse/line? In line 20, the motorcyclist “roared away.” Which types of animals roar? What is Stafford trying to say about the motorcyclist and/or the bike? What is significant about the motorcyclist calling the protagonist a “good man?” Stanza theme:
Basically, we’re talking about tone – the attitude of the author toward his/her subject. Diction (the author’s word choice) and imagery can help us to identify the author’s tone(s). In your composition book, write “Imagery,” then list the words and/or phrases in the poem that create images. Next, identify an example of personification in the poem (hint: second stanza).
Now, let’s identify this poem’s tone. Think of the poem’s: - diction (word choice) - Imagery - Figurative language (e.g. personification, metaphor) So00000…………. What do you think the author’s attitude is in this poem?
Shifts in the poem’s tone, writing style, punctuation, or structure can help give the reader a bit more insight into the poem. Identify any shifts in tone, action, or structure within in the poem. Why does Stafford separate the final verse from the rest of the poem? Why does he use the word “stood?”
Let’s revisit the title. What new insight does the title provide in understanding the poem?
Generally, the theme of a poem is its message. Identify the poem’s theme in one word or a phrase. Thematic statement: What point/message might Stafford be trying to get across to the reader?
Answer the following prompt in a 4- to 5-sentence paragraph: *How will you face a major temptation when you are on the cusp of adulthood? Consider this when developing your response: Will you weigh the morals and consequences of a risky decision, or will you succumb to your desires and rush in?
When constructing your short answer response, make sure to: 1. Answer the question directly in your first sentence. 2. Then, support your assertion in the other 3-4 sentences.