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Assignment Questions

Analysis of Poems

Please note: you have the freedom to choose any one of the following poems to write this paper on (it MUST be one of following, so please don’t pick a poem that you don’t see here).
Poems suitable this explication paper:

Browning:

“Count Gismond”
“Johannes Agricola in Meditation”
“The Laboratory”
“A Light Woman”

Hopkins:

“The Habit of Perfection”
“The Candle Indoors”
“Patience, Hard Thing”

****INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE PAPER (PLEASE READ CAREFULLY)****

An explication of a poem should begin with a full, prehensive, detailed statement of the poem’s meaning and intent: in other words, everything that you think the poet is trying to do in his work. Do not attempt to explicate a poem that you don’t feel you understand pletely. It is not sufficient to say, for example, that Robert Browning’s “My Last Duchess” is a portrait of a Renaissance Duke, or even that it is a conversation between a Renaissance Duke about his last wife with the envoy arranging his next marriage. You should, in your statement of meaning and intent, cover all the major issues you find in the poem. This should take several paragraphs, and will prise the first part of your paper.

The second part of the paper should be an organized consideration of the means that the poet uses to achieve his ends. The nature of the organization of this section depends on the poem, and upon what you think will be the most successful strategy. It may be that a line by line discussion will work, although that probably is not the best strategy for a long poem; it should generally be avoided since this part of the paper should NOT be a paraphrase of the poem. Nevertheless, it may be that your discussion of poetics and poetical technique might correspond to the overall organization of the poem; a sonnet might logically and naturally lend itself to a sequential discussion of the octave and the sestet (or the individual quatrains). It may be that you will want to organize your discussion around individual features, considering (for example) metaphors, rhyme scheme, imagery, point of view, etc. in separate categories. It may be that some other order will remend itself. In any case, this part of the paper should evince some basis for what you choose to discuss. In general, you should think of the poem here from the poet’s hypothetical strategy: how did I (the poet) best convey the points I wanted to convey, give the reader the overall meaning I intended? What means or devices did I use to that end? (and what did I avoid?)

Be sure to indicate how and why the techniques you present contribute to the overall meaning and intent of the poem: you should not present anything that can’t be shown to acplish this end. Don’t be vague–“the alliteration of this line gives the poem a nice flow” is precisely what I DON’T want to hear. You can be imaginative, as long as your imagination is reasonable and firmly supported by evidence from the text.

Do use a dictionary and background references, as well as background notes, if you need to. Often the derivation and historical use of a word (the Oxford English Dictionary is best for this) may be helpful to its meaning and significance in the poem. Make sure you identify (for yourself, at least) all the references about which you have any question: obviously it helps to know what a windhover is in order to grasp Hopkins’ meaning. Try to remember something about the historical and biographical context of your poem: it’s possible, for example, that Hopkins’ “rod” in “God’s Grandeur” might allude to a lightning rod, but highly unlikely that it would allude to a pistol. And of course knowing some things about the poet whose work you are writing on always helps..

Don’t use criticism: it’s often misleading and sometimes simply stupid. Rely upon your own good sense.

Obviously some of the following poems–from which I want you to choose–differ in length and possible plexity. You won’t be able to talk about all, or perhaps even most, poetical elements in your explication of them. So choose what you feel are the most, or some more, important techniques. But do be sure to provide that full, prehensive, detailed statement of the poem’s meaning and intent, whatever poem you choose. And don’t feel, incidentally, that a shorter poem is necessarily easier to explicate.

***PLEASE NOTE***
This paper should be your own close-reading and should portray your own analysis and critical thinking; outside references should not be included.
This paper MUST be at least 4 FULL pages (not including the passage you chose, title page, bibliography or anything extra).
When referring to specific quotes, please use the proper citation (include page number, and line numbers.)
Please don’t forget to transition smoothly from one paragraph to the next using transitional sentences; don’t just jump from one thing to something totally different without a transition.
Also, please AVOID being repetitive as this is a short paper and the importantance of every sentence counts. When you are done, please give the paper an appropriate title.
Also, please include an MLA style work cited page.
Last but not least, PLEASE DO NOT DELIVER MY ORDER LATE! It’s due and should be in my in-box no later than Tuesday, 6/4/2007 at 4:00PM EST. I am not happy about the fact that my last two orders with EssayTown were both late and I had no use for one of them by the time it got to me. You guarantee on your website that you will deliver an “A+ paper of any length, any level on any date.” Please keep your promise and thus your customers.

If the writer has any questions or ments for me, he or she may contact me directly at:
Thank you and good luck!

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