Explain your ideas about the poem.

"When Death Comes" by Mary Oliver

Assignment Sheet for Poetry Analysis Essay (10%) The purpose of this assignment is to argue about an idea or element in the poem that you view differently. Essentially, you will observe the poem from your point of view and convince fellow readers how to see it the way you do. You will not simply make an observation about how an element is used in the poem or an observation about what the theme is, but rather answer the question, “SO WHAT?” You must make clear what the poem’s theme is directly in your introduction. In the body of your essay, you will show how these elements help get that theme across. For all parts of your argument, support your interpretation with specific textual examples. The ideas you express will be unique to your understanding of the poem, and will reflect an extension of the discussions we had in class. • Choose one (or two) of the poems we discussed in this Unit and re-read it. Pre-write to discover what you believe is the poem’s most significant meaning and the ways in which that meaning is conveyed (which you will likely discover are generally inseparable). This meaning will be your essay’s thesis statement. • Develop a strong, clear thesis statement that articulates the message in the poem you have chosen. Your thesis statement should answer this question: What is this poem about? Your essay should then support that thesis. • Explain your ideas about the poem in a well-organized essay. Compose body paragraphs that effectively support your interpretation of the poem and explain how the poem conveys this message. Consider the questions about the poem’s speaker, audience, setting, plot, structure, imagery, diction, language, tone, sounds, rhythms, etc. It is often helpful to divide the poem into more accessible parts, though you should not depend solely on the poem’s superficial structure for your essay’s organization (i.e., avoid writing chronologically as you would in a poetry explication by starting out “In line one, the poet says …,” “In line two, the poet says …,” etc.) rather use parenthetical citations as used in the MLA format. • Quote or paraphrase the poem, your primary source, to support your thesis, and correctly integrate your quotes. List your poem on a Works Cited page and format your paper according to MLA style. • Use at least one outside source (your secondary source) as a direct quote from a scholar. Your essays will be graded on the following factors: A strong thesis statement with an essay that explores the thesis in its entirety Grammar and MLA formatting Quotes from your primary text and your secondary scholarly source Length: 750-1000 words

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