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TPCASTT Notes on Poetry Analysis Technique

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1 TPCASTT Notes on Poetry Analysis Technique
English II

2 What is TPCASTT? TPCASTT is a mnemonic device (memory trick), an acronym of steps used to analyze poetry. The results of TPCASTT can be used to write an explicate an essay and write a poem. Explicating poetry means: to analyze and explain There are seven steps in the TPCASTT process.

3 T -- Title Ponder the title before reading the poem
Look at the title and attempt to predict what the poem will be about. Using the sample in front of you, let’s do this step now.

4 STOP! Put your pen down! Read the poem all the way through without marking it. Read it for understanding Look up any words you are unfamiliar with and define them.

5 P - Paraphrase Translate the poem into your own words
There should not be many more words than what the poem consists of originally. Write exactly what happened Make sure you understand the LITERAL meaning of the poem. Literal is the antonym for figurative. It means it actually took place (e.g. it’s literally raining cats and dogs means animals are falling from the sky). WRITE notes in the margin beside each major section of the poem so you can review these later

6 C - Connotation Contemplate the poem for meaning beyond the literal level- think figuratively now Figurative language makes readers use their imagination (e.g. it’s raining cats and dogs means its raining water from the sky really hard) Look for any and all poetic devices and try to see how those devices contribute to the meaning, the effect or both of the poem Metaphor, simile, personification, alliteration, onomatopoeia, rhythm, rhyme, symbolism, and diction, etc. ANALYZE your sample poem now. CIRCLE these devices, color code them and make margin notes about their meanings.

7 A - Attitude Observe both the speaker’s attitude and the poet’s attitude (this may or may not be clear) This, of course, is TONE. Remember that these attitudes will probably shift or be mixed in the poem. Label all you see, especially if you see a shift. Attitude cannot be named in a single word (for the same reason that you can’t explain your feelings completely in just one word)

8 S - Shift Note shifts in speakers or attitudes What is CHANGING!?
Are there any shifts in the poem before you? Key words: but, yet, however, although Punctuation: dashes, periods, commas, colons, ellipsis, etc. Stanza: divisions, changes in length and lines Irony Changes in sound and diction (read the poem aloud if you have trouble with this)

9 T – Title (again) Re-examine the title. Try to see how the title fits with the work as a whole. This time, you are interpreting the title, not just predicting or looking at it literally.

10 T - Theme Determine what the poet is saying
THIS IS NOT THE MORAL OF THE POEM Identify the theme by recognizing the human experience, motivation, or condition of the poem. Follow the steps on your handout to help you come to theme. One work may have several possible themes Ask yourself why is there only 1 poem that 100 people can connect to… What is that reason they can connect with it?

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