English 102 Poem Analysis

English 102: Essay #2

Here is the directive for your second essay:

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Explication, or, more technically, “explication de texte,” is defined as a “method of literary criticism in which the interrelated details of a written work are examined and analyzed in an effort to understand its structure and discover its meanings.” The term “structure,” of course, describes much more than just the form (sonnet, villanelle, free verse, etc.) of a poem. In other words, explicating a poem entails conducting a detailed analysis of both structure and content. The term “content” refers to the language of a poem. In other terms, then, analyzing the content of a poem involves offering a careful analysis of the specific words of a poem; this careful analysis of the language of a poem will, of course, lead to a discussion of other elements as well, including setting, speaker, metaphor, irony, etc. (the interrelated details).

With that said, here is the actual assignment for the second essay:

Choose one (1) of the poems from the syllabus and write a detailed analysis of its form and content. You might consider discussing such things as the reason(s) why the poet chose the verse form s/he did, the relationship between the form of the poem and its content, the effect of such stylistic devices as alliteration, assonance, rhyme, meter variation, caesuras, enjambment, line breaks, etc., and/or the relation of the poem to its literary historical context.

Poems to choose from:

-Ernest Hemingway “Hills Like White Elephants”

-James Joyce “Eveline”

-Jhumpa Lahiri “Interpreter of Maladies”

Regardless of how you approach the essay, I expect it to be structured around some organizing thesis (main argument) that you pursue throughout your analysis of the poem. In other words, the goal of the essay is to make an argument about what the poem means through a careful analysis of its form and content. Finally, be sure to read the requirements listed below, as this essay differs from the previous one in that it requires you to use an outside critical source in your essay.

The requirements for the essay are as follows:

Essay must be exactly 3 pages in length (no more and no less)

Essay must be argumentative in nature

Essay must use a sufficient number of textual examples–quotations followed by explanation and

interpretation–as argumentative support

Essay must contain at least one in-text citation from a reputable secondary source

Essay must adhere to MLA standards and guidelines

Essay must contain a “Works Cited” page

Rough draft of essay must be exchanged with other class members (see below)

Also, here are a few things you should keep in mind as you are writing your essay:

Your essay should contain a well-argued thesis statement

The “body” of your essay should work to support your thesis statement

Your essay should be free of grammatical and punctuation errors

Titles of poems should be placed inside quotation marks

Quoted lines of poetry should be separated by a slash, and the parenthetical citation should refer

to the line numbers of the quotation, as in the following example: In “The Road Not Taken,” Robert Frost writes, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood / And sorry I could not travel both” (1- 2).

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