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Critical Analysis of Poetry

Page history last edited by lindsay.peifer@... 15 years, 10 months ago


Septemeber 8, 2008

First, we used the poem "The Dragon of Grindly Grun" as a class.  Then, I assigned the poem "An Elementary School Class Room in a Slum" by Stephen Spender.  


September 9, 2008

With a partner, complete the Critical Analysis of Poetry using "An Elementary School Class Room in a Slum." 



Critical Analysis of Poetry

Step One

Read the poem three times:

1.    Silently for first impression

2.    Aloud, noting rhythm, literary devices, mood, voice

3.    Again, to adjust first impression


Step Two

  • What is going on here?  What is the dramatic situation?  What is the evidence?  How do you know?
  • Look on it as if it were a brief glimpse into a play scene, an overheard conversation, a flash of insight into someone’s thoughts and feelings of the moment.
  • Who is speaking (voice)?  What kind of person?  What is the attitude toward the situation (tone)?
  • Who is being spoken to?  What is the attitude toward the audience, the subject (tone)?  How consistent is the speaker with the situation?


Step Three

1.    How does the poet achieve the effect?  What creates the dominant impression?

2.    Look at the following:

  • Patterns—What is the structure of the poem?  Look at lines, stanzas, repetitions, rhythm patterns, meter, rhyme and sound patterns.
  • Images—Note any that appeal to the senses.  Look for literal and figurative images, symbols, use of literary devices that build imagery.
  • Words—Why the choice and positions of words?  Are there connotations, allusions?


Step Four

How do all these contribute to the total impact of the poem?  Summarize your findings.  How well does the poem do what it is doing?



 Critical Analysis of Poetry.doc


Comments (8)

Nancy Xiong said

at 5:40 pm on Sep 9, 2008

I was wondering if we were supposed to answer the questions in paragraphs or just answer them.

lindsay.peifer@... said

at 7:29 pm on Sep 9, 2008

Hi Nancy--
I would like you to answer the questions in complete sentences, using textual evidence to support your claims, and to answer the questions thoroughly.

Does that help?
Ms. Peifer

Emma Holmes said

at 7:59 pm on Sep 14, 2008

I wasn't in class when we went over this so I have a question. Are we are supposed to answer all the questions in all the steps as part of the analysis?

lindsay.peifer@... said

at 8:41 pm on Sep 14, 2008

Hi Emma,
You should cover all the questions in your answers, but you don't necessarily have to go point by bullet point. The analysis should help you come to a conclusion on what the author's purpose is in the piece, which is where the commentary begins.

Ms. Peifer

Moriah Seaberg said

at 6:09 pm on Sep 23, 2008

I have a few questions about the written commentary: what exactly are you looking for in it? Also, how long do you want it to be? And I do it on just one of the two--poetry or prose--correct?

lindsay.peifer@... said

at 7:04 pm on Sep 23, 2008

I would like you to answer the questions listed under the steps using the poem "An Elementary School Class Room in a Slum." The analysis should be about one-two pages long. You have to write the critical analysis of poetry AND prose. Then, you only write one commentary--choosing either the poem or the prose.

Ms. Peifer

Moriah Seaberg said

at 7:33 pm on Sep 23, 2008

I understand the critical analysis; for the commentary, what should the content of it be? Is there anything in specific I should know or include in it, and how long would you like it to be?

lindsay.peifer@... said

at 7:45 pm on Sep 23, 2008

The commentary is an in-class commentary. Please talk to me tomorrow about a time to make this up.

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