Analyzing Poetry Introduction. Week 1: Introduction-Analyzing Poetry.
We are affected by literature -- we love it, hate it, or are indifferent. This is the total effect. "Meaning" is the total effect -- the sum of all of the parts is what it "means" to you. The "meaning" of a work may change as you understand more about it or experience some of what the author has written about. Therefore, "meaning" is how the poem acts on you -- what it is that you feel. As you understand more about a work, its meaning will change -- it will have more effect, or there is also the possibility that you will realize that the work did not mean what you thought it did (you feel differently).
The movie Friday the 13th, Part 23 may be an inspiration for the beginning film maker, a triumph of wise investment for the producer, a boring waste of time for the person who has seen the previous 22, and a terrifying experience for the poor spectator who has seen none of the others. For each of them, the experience, the interpretation, and ultimately, the meaning, will be different. Therefore when you analyze or look at a work of art, you are trying to decipher how it achieves its effect or how did it produce meaning.
As we read poetry over the next few months, I want you to follow these directions during poetry mini-lessons:
I want you
see the movies
hear the music
By Elaine Schwager
If you can keep you head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream-and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them, "Hold on!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!
1) What is one theme of the passage? Use details from the passage to support your answer. Write your answer in the answer document.
"You Can't Write a Poem About McDonald's“Ronald Wallace
Noon. Hunger the only thingsinging in my belly.I walk through the blossoming cherry treeson the library mall,past the young couples coupling,by the crazy fanaticscreaming doom and salvationat a sensation-hungry crowd,to the Lake Street McDonald's.It is crowded, the lines long and sluggish.I wait in the greasy air.All around me people are eating—the sizzle of conversation,the salty odor of sweat,the warm flesh pressing out ofhip huggers and halter tops.When I finally reach the cash register,the counter girl is crisp as a pickle,her fingers thin as french fries,
her face brown as a bun.Suddenly I understand cannibalism.As I reach for her,she breaks into pieceswrapped neat and packaged for take-out.I'm thinking, how amazing it isto live in this country, how easyit is to be filled.We leave together, her warm aromaclose at my side.I walk back through the cherry treesblossoming up into pies,the young couples frying inthe hot, oily sun,the crowd eating up the fanatic,singing, my ear, eye, and tonguefat with the wonderof this hungry world.
I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us - don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know.
How dreary to be somebody!
How public like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!
a. She’s not a realistic person.
b. She doesn’t get along with others.
c. She’s afraid to make friends.
d. She doesn’t want everyone to know her name.
4. Based on the passage, what might the word, “banish” mean?
“Daybreak” by Ted Kooser
On the tidal mud, just before sunset
Dozens of starfishes
were creeping. It was
as though the mud were a sky
and enormous, imperfect stars
moved across it slowly
as the actual stars cross heaven.
All at once they stopped,
and as if they had simply
increased their receptivity
to gravity they sank down
into the mud; they faded down
into it and lay still; by the time
pink of sunset broke across them
they were as invisible
As the true stars at daybreak.