Poetry Essay Assignment
Write an essay of approximately 500 words on one of the topics listed below.
1. Discuss Theodore Roethke’s use of imagery and word choice in “My Papa’s Waltz” to create an ambiguous undertone in the poem.
2. Examine Edwin Arlington Robinson’s use of language and structure in “Richard Cory” to discuss the disparities between appearance and reality.
3. Analyze the specific literary devices (symbolism, imagery, word choice, etc.) Langston Hughes uses in “I, Too” to call for social equality.
4. Discuss specific literary elements (symbolism, imagery, word choice, etc.) Marge Piercy uses in her poem “Barbie Doll” to challenge social definitions of womanhood.
• Must be at least 500 words in length.
• Must be formatted in MLA style.
• Must include a clear thesis that is supported throughout the essay with quotes and specific details from the poem.
• Must include introduction, body, and conclusion paragraphs (at least five paragraphs total)
• Secondary sources are not required but allowed. However, the only secondary sources allowed are articles from GALILEO. No websites are allowed. If you do use secondary sources, you must document them correctly with in-text citations within your essay and a Works Cited page at the end of your essay. Failure to do so will result in a grade of zero on the assignment. You can find detailed explanations and examples of how to format quotes, citations, and Works Cited entries in Chapter 24 of your textbook.
Give your essay a title that reflects the narrow focus of the essay (not Essay 2 or Poetry Essay).
Be sure to include the author’s name, title of the poem, and a brief explanation of the subject of the poem in your introduction. Then provide a thesis statement at the end of your introduction that indicates the narrow focus of your essay (what it is you are trying to demonstrate to readers) without using phrases such as “This paper will discuss” or “I am going to tell you about.”
Use line numbers rather than page numbers in your in-text citations when presenting quotes and details from the poem. For example, if you are quotation lines 3-5 of the poem, your citation would look like this: (lines 3-5).
Since you are only analyzing one poem, use the poet’s last name in your first citation and then just use the line numbers thereafter. Example: (Hughes lines 2-4).
When quoting 2-3 lines of poetry, use slash marks to indicate line divisions. Example: The speaker states, “I am the darker brother/They send me to eat in the kitchen” (lines 2-3).
When quoting four or more lines of poetry (which you should do sparingly), set the quote off as a block quote. For detailed explanation and example of how to set off a block quote, see Chapter 24, p. 1100 of your textbook.