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A.

Jacobs F17

Poetry Analysis Essay Assignment

Introduction
One of the most important skills a burgeoning college-level writer must accomplish is the art of analysis.
Being able to understand the nature of a written work--what, how, why, and when--is important to
developing critical thinking and critical writing skills. Now that youve completed a genre unit, its time
to put your analysis skills to the test. Every genre essay you write, including the critical approach essay, is
designed to help you, not only analyze, but to practice the writing process, with a special emphasis on
revision. Each essay is one small step closer to creating the final portfolio, where youll be given the
chance to make revisions and make each essay stronger.

Essay Parameters
As a reminder, here are the poems you can analyze for this assignment:
[I wandered lonely as a cloud]--William Wordsworth
On Being Brought from Africa to America--Phillis Wheatley
[I celebrate myself, and sing myself]--Walt Whitman
Ballad of the Landlord--Langston Hughes
I, Too--Langston Hughes
We Real Cool--Gwendolyn Brooks
Daystar--Rita Dove
Dover Beach-- Matthew Arnold
Litany at the Tomb of Frederick Douglass--Martin Espada
Leaving the Motel--W. D. Snodgrass
Sympathy--Paul Laurence Dunbar
[Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone]-- W. H. Auden
Aunt Jennifers Tigers-- Adrienne Rich
On Writing--Adrienne Su
Sonrisas--Pat Mora
Blackberry Eating-- Galway Kinnell
Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night-- Dylan Thomas
Still I Rise-- Maya Angelou (Blackboard)
Here are the elements you can use to analyze your selected story:
Speaker (p. 509)
Situation (p. 525)
Setting (p. 530)
Tone (p. 546)
Theme (p. 548) or Theme and Conflict (p. 552)
Structure (p. 633-659)

Essay Prompts
Option 1: Select one of the poems above and analyze it using two elements above, making sure
that the elements relate in some way.
Option 2: Select two poems above and analyze them using one element that is related to both in
some way.
A. Jacobs F17

Essay Guidelines
Selecting one of the options above, write a three page essay in MLA format, complete with a Work Cited
page (separate from page requirement). This essay should carefully and clearly analyze the poem or
poems of your choice via the element(s) of your choice, showing how they are linked/related. To aid in
your analysis, your essay must include at least two quotes to back up your analysis, but not more than
four quotes. No quotes should be longer than three lines long, making sure to properly explain each
quotes use in your analysis. In other words, dont just use a quote, then walk away from it
(metaphorically speaking). Explain to the reader the importance and significance of each quote and how it
relates to your analysis. Only use our text for this essay. No outside sources are allowed and will count
against your grade.

In terms of the content, your analysis must include the basics of essay construction: introduction, body
paragraphs, and conclusion. However, it should not conform to the stereotypical five-paragraph essay.
Keep in mind that analyses can take several more paragraphs to get your point across. In the introduction,
be sure to include the name(s) of your poem(s) and the author(s), the element(s) youre using for your
analysis, and even a short summary. End the introduction with your thesis statement, which focuses on
the main idea of your essay. The body paragraphs consist of your analysis and should flow smoothly from
one point to another via clear and effective transitional words or phrases, such as Furthermore, Also,
Another example is, or even In conclusion. The conclusion, other than wrapping up your main ideas,
should also include some form of implication, evaluation, or area of ambiguity/unanswered question from
the text. This is addressed in our text on pages 1268-1269. This will add depth to the conclusion and your
analysis as a whole.

Essay Assessment
Because this course has a portfolio requirement at the end, the grades for each genre essay will consist of
two parts: the basic requirements grade and the final grade. The basic requirements grade consists of
whether or not the essay meets basic formatting and submission requirements, with feedback on how to
improve your essay for later revision. This portion of the grade consists of half the essay grade. The final
grade will consist of the remainder of the essay grade and will take into account the revisions youve
made to improve the essays quality, as well as submission requirements. Please note that plagiarism
penalties will apply to this assignment (for both parts), so make sure this essay is original to you for this
class in this semester. Borrowing old assignments is not permitted.

Due Dates and Submission Requirements


The initial due date for the first part of this essay is due Week Eleven. Check the course schedule for the
exact date. There will be small group conferences and peer review to aid with the writing of this essay. In
terms of submitting this essay, you will submit the paper copy in my office (80% of the grade) and via
Blackboard dropbox (20% of the grade) on the due date. The first part of this essay grade is worth 50
points and the late policy (-10%) will apply for submissions provided one class period after the due date.
No submissions will be allowed afterwards.

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