Poetry Essay Instructions: You must complete the required textbook readings in preparation for the Poetry Essay. This will equip you to objectively respond to the readings by compiling information from a variety of sources in order to compose a persuasive analysis of a literary work. You will also learn to follow standard usage in English grammar and sentence structure; identify the theme and structure of each literary selection and the significant characteristics or elements of each genre studied; and evaluate the literary merit of a work (Syllabus MLOs: A, B, C, D, F, G and Module/Week 5 LOs: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7).
In Module/Week 5, you will write a 750-word (approximately 3 pages) essay that analyzes 1 poem from the Poetry Unit. Before you begin writing the essay, carefully read the below guidelines for developing your paper topic and review the Poetry Essay Grading Rubric to see how your submission will be graded. Gather all of your information, plan the direction of your essay, and organize your ideas by developing a 1-page thesis statement and outline for your essay as you did for your Fiction Essay. Format the thesis statement and the outline in a single Microsoft Word document using current MLA, APA, or Turabian style, whichever corresponds to your degree program; check your Perrine’s Literature textbook, the Harbrace Essentials Handbook, and/or its companion website, MindTap, to ensure the correct citation format is used.
The final essay must include, a title page (see the General Writing Requirements), a thesis/outline page, and the essay itself followed by a works cited/references/bibliography page of any primary and/or secondary texts cited in the essay.
You must submit the thesis and outline by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Monday of Module/Week 4 for instructor feedback.
You must submit the Poetry Essay by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Monday of Module/Week 5.
Guidelines for Developing Your Paper Topic
The “Writing about Literature” section of your Perrine’s Literature textbook (pp. 1–54) and the “Writing” section of Harbrace Essentials (pp. 1–12, 18–21, 22–28) provide pointers which will be helpful for academic writing in general, and more specifically for your literary essay. Be sure that you read this section before doing any further work for this assignment. Take particular notice of the examples of poetry essays on pp. 43–48 of Perrine’s Literature.
Choose 1 of the poems from the list below to address in your essay:
• “The Lamb,” “The Tiger,” and “The Chimney Sweeper” by William Blake
• “Batter my heart, three-personed God” and “Death Be Not Proud” by John Donne
• “Journey of the Magi” by T. S. Eliot
• “God’s Grandeur” and “Spring” by Gerard Manley Hopkins
• “Ode to a Nightingale” by John Keats
• “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley
• “My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning
• “Sailing to Byzantium” by William Butler Yeats
• “The Road Not Taken” and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost
• “It Sifts from Leaden Sieves” and “There’s No Frigate Like a Book” by Emily Dickinson
• “Ulysses” by Alfred Lord Tennyson
• Psalm 1 or 23
• “Virtue” by George Herbert
• “That Time of Year” (Sonnet 73) by William Shakespeare
Consider answering the following questions about the poem that you have chosen:
- What is/are the theme(s) of the poem?
- Is there a literal setting or situation in the poem? What lines from the poem tell the reader this information? What details does the author include?
- Is the setting symbolic?
- How would you describe the mood of the poem? What elements contribute to this mood?
- Is the title significant to the poem’s content or meaning? How?
- What major literary devices and figures of speech does the poet use to communicate the theme(s)?
- How are rhyme and other metrical devices used in the poem? Do they support the poem’s overall meaning? Why or why not?
- Is the identity of the poem’s narrator clear? How would you describe this person? What information, if any, does the author provide about him or her?
- Does the narrator seem to have a certain opinion of or attitude about the poem’s subject matter? How can you tell?
NOTE: These questions are a means of ordering your thoughts while you collect information for your essay. You do not need to include the answers to all of these questions in your essay; only include those answers that directly support your thesis statement.
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