Graphic organizer to help you analyze a poem. Works really well with the “Three-Readings” strategy we learned at the beginning of the year (the painting with George Washington on the triceratops). Simple Complex A good strategy to memorize especially when working on poetry analysis without the guidance from a teacher or peers. Great test taking strategy.
TTitleRead the title and think about it. Poets often “hide” meaning in the title. Great spot to write questions. PParaphrase: repeat each line in your own words. Sometimes a summary will work just as well, but paraphrasing really helps the reader understand complex poetry, especially older poems (written before 1920). Summary: briefly explains the main points; it doesn’t include details of the text. Paraphrase: saying the same thing in other words to clarify and explain “So what you are saying is…” CConnotation: All poetic devices not just the emotional meaning of a word. Metaphor; simile, figures of speech, symbolism, personification, point- of-view, imagery, sound devices: onomatopoeia, alliteration, rhythm, rhyme.
AAttitude: Tone and mood. It takes more than one word to explain tone. SShift: poems rarely ever maintain the same idea through the whole thing. Ideas shift; these are the clues. Usually format and punctuation are a great way to start looking at shift. TTitle Revisited: return to the title and reassess the meaning. Be insightful. TTheme: What does it mean? What does the author want you to “take away” from the piece? Theme is always stated in a complete sentence.
Walt Whitman, 19 th century. Whitman loved to walk among “the people” and found the world endlessly fascinating. He is know for his open structure and long sentences. He didn’t write about “high ideas” but about every day life and what it was like to be alive, including the intimate; things that would have been considered “impolite” at the time. Title: Obviously about Americans. What does he mean by singing? It can’t be literal. Could it be a metaphor for something else? Video Recitation Paraphrase: he’s talking about all these different “working-man” jobs. He’s very specific about the male jobs, the women are a little more domestic (probably because of the time period it was written in). He also talks about young men out partying at night and how each person “sings” their own song depending on their activity. Connotation: doesn’t rhyme. The lines are long, but he used a lot of repetition. Each line follows the same format and he repeats the word “singing” in almost every line. This poem is a metaphor. Whitman is comparing working men and women to a choir. Each person adds their “voice” to the greater whole.
Attitude: The tone is joyful almost celebratory. He seems like he’s proud of these people and the things they do. Its very “American” in spirit because it talks about the hard work people do, but how when they “sing” its with a sense of pride and purpose. There’s a beauty in everyday actions. Shift: There aren’t any stanza breaks, so I don’t think the meaning is really shifting, but he shifts from men, to women, to young men. Between the women and the young men he places a line that seems to have more significance like he’s explaining why they’re important. Then the poem closes with a nighttime image of the young men going out, being loud and happy, like people can be at the end of the day when their work is over. Theme: We should celebrate our daily lives. What we do each day matters and we all “sing” a song that contributes to the greater whole.
20 minute of the documentary Record notes for: why he wrote/intentions and goals/interesting details that would have an effect on what he wrote. Suggested notes: Whitman felt a book could change the country He was willing to sacrifice everything to save his nation from itself. In the 1850s people were “listless” and pessimistic. He wanted to change that. Grew up poor—farm—left school at 11 yrs. Very sensitive to the world around him. Moved to NY at 21yrs to escape his father’s pessimism. Walt was just he opposite. Self-educated, arrogant, not afraid to voice his opinion—often “rubbed people the wrong way”. He irritated the conservative rich with his insults and demand that they take notice of the whole world, not just their wealthy corner. He loved NY and the city often distracted him from his newspaper work. Loved the “sense of humanity flowing”—enjoyed riding with bus-drivers to hear their stories. Unlike other authors of his day he loved the city (they hated it). He was fascinated by the common man as well as the wealthy, but he wanted to shake the wealthy out of their apathy. Post-viewing: connect “I Hear America Singing” to what you now know about Whitman. Write 2-3 sentences below your notes.
"I Sing the Body Electric“ Read the first two stanzas… "I Sing the Body Electric“ What is he talking about in the poem? What do you think? Do you like it or find it offensive? Choose one word (your tone list will help) to describe how you feel, think, or describe the poem.
Title: what other poem does it remind you of? What does sing mean? Paraphrase: go line by line: I am also American/I am African American/when company comes over I eat in the kitchen/ Connotation: Figurative Language Review Attitude: use your tone sheet; there are multiple correct tones. Shift: look for words that tell you Hughes is taking the poem in a different direction. Hughes starts the poem talking about how he’s not allowed to eat with the rest of the family, and used the word but to change directions and tell us how he feels about it (he’s not mad even though its really unfair). Title Revisited: see notes on allusion Theme:
Title revisited: Hughes is clearly making an allusion to Whitman’s poem. How do I know: Its what’s called an allusion. Writers often make reference to other art in their writing without naming who wrote it, with the expectation that the reference is so famous readers will automatically know what they are talking about. Of course, it means they expect the reader to have a lot of prior knowledge. Common allusions: The Bible, Shakespeare, Greek Mythology. Whether or not your reader knows the reference can depend on the audience. The writer is usually aware of this and isn’t going to make an allusion his reader won’t understand, most of the time
Simile: a comparison between two unlike things using the words like, as, or than. America’s people are like a choir. Each person is a voice. Metaphor: a comparison between two unlike things by saying the object a is the same as object b. America’s people are a choir, each one singing their part of the song. Personification: giving human characteristics to non-human things. Onomatopoeia: words that sound like what they mean: Crisp, bang, trickle Alliteration: repetition (has to happen at least twice in the same line to be alliteration) of the same sound at the beginning or end of the words. Sally sells sea shells by the sea shore
Imagery: descriptions/images that appeal to the senses. Rhythm Rhyme repetition stanza
Biography Clip Record notes for: why he wrote/intentions and goals/interesting details that would have an effect on what he wrote. Post-viewing: connect “I, Too, Sing America” to what you now know about Hughes. Aim for about 50-75 words. The Weary Blues Weary Blue Clip Write 50-75 word response. Include how it make you feel and describe the attitude. Think about how poetry connects to music as you write your response.
You may use your notes, including other TPCASTT worksheets, and your tone sheet. Title Paraphrase: full paraphrase using / to show line changes Connotation Attitude Shift Title Revisited Theme
Lim immigrated to the US in 1969 from Malaysia to attend graduate school on the East Coast. She was 24 years old. Her father was Chinese Eventually moved to California She is a professor in the English Department at UCSB