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A Tool for Analyzing Poetry

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1 A Tool for Analyzing Poetry
TP-CASTT A Tool for Analyzing Poetry

2 Discuss A story is like a walk through a house. You get to see the porch, every room in the house, a tour with descriptions of everything in it, all the events going on, meet all the people, and then go out the back door. A poem, however, is like walking by the house and looking through a window, so you only see a moment of an event, a glimpse into that life, without seeing the whole picture.

3 TP-CASTT Title Paraphrase Connotation Attitude Shifts Theme

4 Title Ponder the title before reading the poem
speculate on what you think the poem might be about based upon the title. Often time authors conceal meaning in the title and give clues in the title. If the title is numbered or simply the first line of the poem, skip this step.

5 Paraphrase Translate the poem into your own words. (word for word!)
Don’t overlook the literal meaning of the poem. Look at the number of lines in the poem, your paraphrase should have exactly the same number.

6 Connotation Look for figurative language/poetic devices and how they contribute to the overall meaning of the poem. This include but are not limited to: Simile Metaphor Personification Diction Point of view Alliteration Rhyme Meter

7 Attitude Observe both the speaker’s and the poet’s attitude (tone).
Examination of word choice, images, and details suggests how the speaker feels about the topic and contributes to the overall understanding of the poem. Tone/Attitude cannot be named with a single word—think complexly!

8 Shifts Note shifts in topic, speakers, and tone
Rarely does a poem begin and end the poetic experience in the same place. As is true of most us, the poet's understanding of an experience is a gradual realization, and the poem is a reflection of that understanding or insight. Watch for the following keys to shifts: Key words (but, yet, however, although) Punctuation (dashes, periods, colons, ellipsis) Stanza divisions Changes in line or stanza length Irony Changes in sound that may indicate changes in meaning Changes in diction

9 Title Examine the title again.
What new insight does the title provide in understanding the poem? How and why?

10 Theme What is the poem saying about the human experience, motivation, or condition? What subject or subjects does the poem address? What do you learn about those subjects? What idea does the poet want you take away with you concerning these subjects? Remember that the theme of any work of literature is stated in a complete sentence.

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