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Problem sentences. Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson were two great poets.

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problem sentences
Problem sentences

Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson were two great poets.

“And I had put away my labor and my leisure too, for his civility” clearly shows that Dickinson is accepting of death. Never say “clearly” anything - you MUST explain the relevance of the quote to your point or what the quote proves

Langston Hughes realized Whitman’s gargantuan mistake.

Walt Whitman uses imagery to show how America is an unification of diversity. “I Hear America Singing” is a longer poem. No proof and no connection between sentences

In the poem, he states that he is waiting for the day that all men are treated equally. Where? Prove!

Walt Whitman uses longer lines than Dickinson. Proof? Why?!


D if there wasn’t a single quote from a poem

  • Most lacked textual support and analysis for arguments
  • Works Cited page!!!!!!!!!!!! (-5 on final draft)
  • Facts are fine (like style or rhyme scheme) but you must say why it is relevant. You can’t just say she uses free verse; you must say how free verse contributes to the meaning of the poem
  • DO NOT assume the speaker is the author
  • REVISE! I will check the final with the rough
model body paragraph
Model body paragraph

Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost share the common theme of isolation in their works. Dickinson drew from personal experience to convey her thoughts on isolationism. Throughout her life, she seldom left her house and visitors were scarce. In line five, Dickinson writes, “How dreary to be somebody!? (Dickinson 5). The speaker accepts isolation implying that to be a Nobody is a luxury compared to the dreary Somebodies. Unlike Dickinson, Frost did not lead an isolated life. However, this does not hinder his ability to write and express or understand isolation. In Frost’s poem, the speaker states that he has “been one acquainted with the night” (Frost 1). By using the word acquainted, it leads the reader to believe that the night is the speaker’s friend and that the speaker spends a lot of time alone at night. Later in the poem, the speaker says, “I have passed by the watchmen on this beat/And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain” (Frost 5-6). The speakers’ inability to interact with other humans forces him to be isolated. Instead of going out of his way to interact with other humans, the speaker continues to walk alone, accepting his isolation. While there is some difference in Dickenson’s and Frost’s approach to the theme of isolationism, they both express a positive view point.

Contrasting poetic forms by Dickinson and Frost help to express their similar outlooks on isolationism.

If anywhere, where could additional textual support be added to this paragraph?

sample poem analysis
Sample poem & analysis

Crossby Langston HughesMy old man's a white old manAnd my old mother's black.If ever I cursed my white old manI take my curses back.If ever I cursed my black old motherAnd wished she were in hell,I'm sorry for that evil wishAnd now I wish her wellMy old man died in a fine big house.My ma died in a shack.I wonder were I'm going to die,Being neither white nor black?


“Cross” by Langston Hughes is an apparently simple, very powerful poem. I actually witnessed it change a man’s life one night. One of my students, a twenty-something in a two-year college freshman English class back in the late ‘70's, was a very white Southern mountain boy who did not want to be in the class at all and wasn’t shy about letting me know it. I read this poem to the class, and during the discussion afterward, he said, in a gently stunned voice, “I never understood before.” He didn’t want to elaborate, and I didn’t press him, but he was different after that night. He no longer resisted learning, and showed himself as likable. I taught him again some time later in a sophomore lit class, and the transformation had held. Honestly, I do not know what about the poem affected him so, but I rejoice that it did. And while I’m being honest here, let me add I do not know why I chose to teach that poem that night. Excessively afraid of conflict at the time, I had always avoided presenting lit with racial issues whenever possible, and in an anthology course where the instructor picks and chooses, it was almost always possible. Two people were changed that night: my student–and me.

  • The poem yields meanings fairly openly. Just start by asking yourself how many meanings of the word “cross” you know. The speaker’s language is informal; for example, “my old man” as slang for “father” has been around a long time. In the light of A Course in Miracles, the mystery and the joy of the poem appear in the next five lines where we hear about the forgiveness the speaker has achieved: he says he’s sorry, and he takes back his curses. Forgiveness is our function here, forgiveness and at-one-ment. The speaker’s black mother and his white father ended up as they lived, separated, the father in a “fine big house,” the black mother in a shack. The speaker contemplates his own mortality and the puzzle of his life and death, “Being neither white nor black.” The unstated implication seems to be there is no place for him, no place to live or die. He is apart from both races, completely alone. The speaker achieves forgiveness but does not recognize his at-one-ment. ACIM show us that instead of seeing his biracialism as neither race, we can, perception cleansed, choose to see it as an embodiment of both, a unity reflecting the true beauty of Love’s creativity. The Cross viewed with clear eyes is not a burden but a unification and resurrection, heaven and earth at one.