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TPCASTT. T itle: Ponder the title before reading the poem P araphrase: Translate the poem into your own words C onnotation: Contemplate the poem for meaning beyond the literal level A ttitude: Observe both the speaker’s and the poet’s attitude (tone).

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tpcastt

TPCASTT

Title: Ponder the title before reading the poem

Paraphrase: Translate the poem into your own words

Connotation: Contemplate the poem for meaning beyond the literal level

Attitude: Observe both the speaker’s and the poet’s attitude (tone).

Shift: Note shifts in speakers and attitudes

Title: Examine the title again, this time on an interpretive level

Theme: Determine what the poet is saying

title
TITLE
  • Look at the title an attempt to predict what the poem will be about.
  • Example:

“The Red Wheelbarrow”

William Carlos Williams

so much dependsupon a red wheelbarrow

glazed with rainwater

beside the whitechickens.

paraphrase
PARAPHRASE
  • Paraphrase the literal meaning or “plot” of the poem. A true understanding of the poem must evolve from comprehension of “what’s going on in the poem.”

Example:

Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.His house is in the village though;He will not see me stopping hereTo watch his woods fill up with snow.My little horse must think it queerTo stop without a farmhouse nearBetween the woods and frozen lakeThe darkest evening of the year.He gives his harness bells a shakeTo ask if there is some mistake.The only other sound's the sweepOf easy wind and downy flake.The woods are lovely, dark and deep.But I have promises to keep,And miles to go before I sleep,And miles to go before I sleep.

connotation
CONNOTATION
  • For poetry, connotation indicates that students should examine any and all poetic devices, focusing on how such devices contribute to the meaning, the effect, or both of a poem. Students may consider imagery (especially simile, metaphor, personification), symbolism, diction, point of view, and sound devices (alliteration, onomatopoeia, rhythm, and rhyme).

Example: From “Daddy” by Sylvia Plath

Not God but a swastikaSo black no sky could squeak through.Every woman adores a Fascist,The boot in the face, the bruteBrute heart of a brute like you.

attitude
ATTITUDE
  • Having examined the poem’s devices and clues closely, you are ready to explore the multiple attitudes that may be present in the poem. (Tone)

Example: Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.His house is in the village though;He will not see me stopping hereTo watch his woods fill up with snow.My little horse must think it queerTo stop without a farmhouse nearBetween the woods and frozen lakeThe darkest evening of the year.He gives his harness bells a shakeTo ask if there is some mistake.The only other sound's the sweepOf easy wind and downy flake.The woods are lovely, dark and deep.But I have promises to keep,And miles to go before I sleep,And miles to go before I sleep.

shifts
SHIFTS
  • Rarely does a poet begin and end the poetic experience in the same place. Discovery of a poet’s understanding of an experience is critical to the understanding of a poem. Trace the feelings of the speaker from the beginning to the end, paying particular attention to the conclusion.
  • Look for the following to find shifts:
  • 1. Key words (but, yet, however, although)
  • 2. Punctuation (dashes, periods, colons, ellipsis)
  • 3. Stanza division
  • 4. Changes in line or stanza length or both
  • 5. Irony (sometimes irony hides shifts)
  • 6. Effect of structure on meaning
  • 7. Changes in sound (rhyme) may indicate changes in meaning
  • 8. Changes in diction (slang to formal language)
slide7

"I'm nobody! Who are you?" by Emily Dickinson

  • 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 frogTo tell your name the livelong dayTo an admiring bog!
title8
TITLE
  • Examine the title again, this time on an interpretive level.
theme
THEME
  • Identify the theme by recognizing the human experience, motivation, or condition suggested by the poem.
  • “Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I've tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice, 5 I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction ice Is also great And would suffice.