Textual Analysis of Poetry 1000-1100 Words
This paper will be your interpretation and analysis of two texts that share particular qualities. You will use any two poems in Backpack Literature or the additional poems provided in class.
By using a very close reading (at the word and punctuation level), you will discuss, for instance, how these separate poems represent a particular political ideology, an individual’s struggle with group identity, a specific conflict, etc. Any shared idea.
You need to present an arguable thesis or theses supporting one possible interpretation among others. You have a lot of options here, but there are several things you should keep in mind:
- You will want to consider the rhetorical situation of the text–information about the subject, the creator, the target audience, the literary movement, the poetic form, etc. will give a better understanding about why the text represents things as it does.
- The focus of the essay will be on your own interpretation. You will support your interpretation with a close reading of the text but you will not use outside sources aside from the Oxford English Dictionary for period-specific definitions.
It is a good idea to select your focus first, and then re-view the text through your interpretive lens. You’ll probably find a lot of evidence that you missed the first time around.
Be mindful of representations that support or attack common stereotypes; role reversals; archetypal figures; group-oriented character development; generic conventions; symbolism, etc.
No matter which texts you choose or what elements you choose to focus on, you’ll want to come to some conclusion(s) about the text’s representations and how they affect its underlying message. How does the text reflect the assumptions, conflicts, values, desires, and/or fears of the wider culture? What matters is that you say what you need to say and say it well. Use your own voice and write a paper that you would want to read.