Posted: September 20th, 2022

ENGL 110- Discussion 2

  • Dickinson (545) “Because I Could Not Stop for Death”
  • Frost (548) “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”
  • Hardy (548) “The Man He Killed”
  • Shakespeare (555) “Sonnet 55”
  • Wordsworth (557) “Tintern Abbey”
  • Owen (607) “Anthem for Doomed Youth”
  • Elizabeth Browning (611) “Sonnet 14”
  • Eliot (613) “Preludes”
  • Pound (627) “In a Station of the Metro”
  • Shakespeare (628) “Sonnet 130”
  • Keats (654) “To Autumn”
  • Shakespeare (663) “Sonnet 18”
  • Keats (745) “Ode to a Nightingale”


INITIAL POST (due 9/11):

Use three different imagery concepts (at least one for each poem) from Chapter 13 (or the imagery section in the “Imagery, Symbolism, & Allusion” powerpoint) to analyze three poems from the reading homework. What theme* does the imagery highlight? Refer to and cite specific lines from the poetry. Type the kind of imagery in bold in your post. 

* Remember, a theme is an idea that elucidated throughout the text. “The ephemeral pleasures of the world” is an example of a theme. 

Length: One page (about 250 words) total

Respond in a structured, focused response. This isn’t a free-write in which you just jot down thoughts. Write clear, grammatical sentences, in coherent paragraphs, and use an appropriate tone. Your response should show that you are familiar with the texts. Do not offer a long summary or background information unless it is related to the question.

RESPONSE POST (due 9/12):

Respond to at least one classmate’s post with a thoughtful comment. You are not limited to praise or agreement. If something needs to be pointed out, do it in a polite but clear way. Avoid irrelevant comments; focus on the texts and the classmate’s ideas. Avoid vague comments like “I agree” or “Good work.”

Note: Avoid posting blank or “test” posts. If you are unclear about the instructions or having trouble, contact me before posting.

Reading and Analyzing Poetry

How to Read a Poem
With poetry in particular, because of its form and length, it is important to read closely and consider every part.
You will need to read a poem more than once to understand and interpret it.
Read the poem once to understand what is being said at the surface level.
Write a paraphrase of the poem. A line-by-line paraphrase in your own words will not only help you understand the poem, it will force you to read closely and pick up on significant elements of the poem.
Read the poem aloud. In order to appreciate the sound and rhythm of the poem, you need to hear it read aloud.

How to Read a Poem
Reread the poem and focus on these elements:
The speaker: Who is the speaker in the poem? Is there more than one speaker? What do you know about the speaker, including his or her beliefs and attitudes?
The words: Look up unfamiliar words and concepts. A dictionary will help you with words, but for historical references, for example, you will need to consult an encyclopedia. Also, pay attention to the language in the poem. What kind of tone is used? What kinds of words are chosen? In what unique ways are the ideas expressed?
The setting and situation: What is the setting? How is it described? How does the setting relate to the speaker and theme(s) in the poem? Is the setting symbolic? What is the situation in the poem (what is happening)?
The form: How is the poem laid out? Pay attention to the lines and stanzas (similar to paragraphs). A sonnet, for example, is one fourteen-line unit with ten-syllable lines.
The subject and theme: What is the poem about? And, what themes are explored?

Analyzing the Words and Language in Poetry
Syntax refers to the structure of the sentence and how the words are ordered in the sentence. It is important to pick up on unusual and unique structures. For example, line four in Blake’s “Infant Joy” is constructed so that the verb (“am”) is placed after the adjective: “I happy am.” How is the syntax here significant?

A metaphor directly speaks about a thing as though it were something else.

All the world’s a stage, / And all the men and women merely players.

A simile speaks about a thing being like/as something else.

I wandered lonely as a cloud / That floats on high o’er vales and hills.

Analyzing the Words and Language in Poetry
Anaphora is the repetition of a word or phrase for emphasis.

I wander thro’ each charter’d street,
Near where the charter’d Thames does flow. 
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

An apostrophe is an address to a person or thing that is absent or cannot hear and respond.

O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

Analyzing the Words and Language in Poetry
Personification is speaking about inanimate objects or abstracts as though they are human (can see, hear, feel, etc.).

The morning comes to consciousness
Of faint stale smells of beer

Antithesis is contrast in words or ideas for emphasis or to create surprise.

A honey tongue, a heart of gall, / Is fancy’s spring, but sorrow’s fall.

Chiasmus is a crossed pattern in a sentence(s) created through contrast.

Ask not what your country can do for you –
ask what you can do for your country.

Imagery, symbolism, and allusion

Imagery refers to the creation of mental images – sight, sound, taste, touch – through words.

Imagery is related to the themes and ideas of a poem. Poets use imagery to create an experience that opens the reader up to the poem’s themes and ideas.

Types of imagery
Visual imagery uses words to create sights. In Pound’s “In a Station of the Metro,” the visual is that of faces in a station crowd. In Pound’s image, these faces are “Petals on a wet, black bough” (line 2).

Auditory imagery captures sounds. In “Preludes,” Eliot’s images of the city include the familiar sounds of inner-city life:
The showers beat
On broken blinds and chimney-pots,
And at the corner of the street
A lonely cab-horse steams and stamps. (lines 9 – 12)

Types of imagery
Olfactory imagery uses smell to create an experience. It’s quite direct in Eliot’s “Preludes”: “The winter evening settles down / With smell of steaks in passageways” (lines 1-2). And again: “The morning comes to consciousness / Of faint stale smells of beer” (14-15).

Gustatory imagery describes tastes. In “Ode to a Nightingale,” Keats describes pining for the taste of wine thus: “O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been / Cool’d a long age in the deep-delved earth, / Tasting of Flora and the country green” (lines 11 – 13).

Types of imagery
Tactile imagery relates to touch and texture. Eliot’s “Preludes” creates a cycle of urban life that connects day and night, work and rest, using images:
Sitting along the bed’s edge, where
You curled the papers from your hair
Or clasped the yellow soles of feet
In the palms of both soiled hands. (lines 35-38)

Kinetic imagery is images of general motion, while kinesthetic imagery is images of human or animal movement. In “Sonnet 130,” Shakespeare describes the awkward walk of his beloved: “My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground” (line 12).

Symbolism is the use of symbols to create meaning in an imaginative way.

A symbol is a thing that represents something else. Think of symbolism as using code to express ideas.

A word, an action, a setting, a character, a situation – all of these can be symbolic and, as symbols, significant to the themes and ideas of a work.

Symbols are often indirect and subtle. For example, one wouldn’t say that a character’s cough is a symbol for the character’s illness. The cough is a symptom of the illness and directly related to it.

Be careful how you use the terms “symbolism,” “symbolize,” and “symbol.” Often students use “symbolizes” when they actually mean “represents” in the general sense.

Identifying symbolism and symbols in works of literature is interpretation, and, like all interpretation, it must be supported by the text.

Cultural or universal symbols are symbols that are common and easily recognized. Spring as a symbol for new life is a cultural/universal symbol.

Contextual, private, or authorial symbols are symbols that are specific to a text. In Blake’s “Infant Sorrow” (Experience), the “swaddling bands” symbolize the confinement of the human world which the infant has come into. Swaddling bands aren’t universally recognized as symbols for confinement.

Allusions are references to other works, history, art, mythology, religion, and other aspects of culture.

For example, in “Ode to a Nightingale,” Keats makes a reference to the Bible (Ruth in line 66) and several references to Greek mythology (“Dryad,” “Bacchus,” etc.). These allusions elucidate the themes of memory, imagination, and freedom.



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