How to Analyze a Poem: TP-CASTT All that you need to know when it comes to reading a poem!
Title • Look at the title and make predictions about what the poem might be about. • What type of connotations or associations do you attach with the title?
Title • Think of the title of a book, television show, song or movie that has a revealing or important title. • Record at least one of these titles on a sheet of paper and place into bag of fun! • Draw a name from that bag and make predictions on what that work might be about. What does the title reveal? How does it setup reader?
Paraphrase • What is the difference between summarizing a text and paraphrasing a text? • Summarizing: recaps the main idea of a text. A summary is usually much shorter than an actual text. • Paraphrasing: reiterates all main points of a text in different words. A paraphrase is usually the same length as the original text.
Paraphrase Read the following poem and provide a summary Boa Constrictor by Shel Silverstein Oh, I'm being eatenBy a boa constrictor,A boa constrictor,A boa constrictor,I'm being eaten by a boa constrictor,And I don't like it--one bit.Well, what do you know?It's nibblin' my toe.Oh, gee,It's up to my knee.Oh my,It's up to my thigh.Oh, fiddle,It's up to my middle.Oh, heck,It's up to my neck.Oh, dread,It's upmmmmmmmmmmffffffffff . . .
Paraphrase Now paraphrase the poem… Boa Constrictor by Shel Silverstein Oh, I'm being eatenBy a boa constrictor,A boa constrictor,A boa constrictor,I'm being eaten by a boa constrictor,And I don't like it--one bit.Well, what do you know?It's nibblin' my toe.Oh, gee,It's up to my knee.Oh my,It's up to my thigh.Oh, fiddle,It's up to my middle.Oh, heck,It's up to my neck.Oh, dread,It's upmmmmmmmmmmffffffffff . . .
Connotation • Analyze the figurative language of the poem. What kinds of images or phrasing does the author use? What emotions or ideas to these images invoke? • You should find at least THREE of these moments. Explain the moment and then describe the feelings/images attached to this. Every moment should carry meaning. • Key ideas to analyze: • Rhythm: the metric pattern of poem • Melody: sound devices used in the poem • Imagery: figurative images created
Connotation: Rhythm • The rhythm of a poem can be developed in many different ways, including: • Repetition: are words or phrases repeated frequently? • Line Length: are there shorter lines, longer lines, or does it vary? • Pauses: analyze the punctuation or the length of different ideas-how are you meant to read the poem? • Metric pattern-different patterns may invoke different ideas. A lack of a metric pattern or changes in a pattern may also add to the connotation.
Connotation: Rhythm Analyzing the rhythm of a poem requires you to look at the metric patterns used in the poem. You will need to count the syllables of each line and determine the accents. There are four common metric patterns you should know: • Iambic: unstressed, stressed • Trochaic: stressed, unstressed • Dactylic: stressed, unstressed, unstressed • Anapestic: unstressed, unstressed, stressed
Connotation: Rhythm • Identify the metric pattern of the following words and phrases: • The South will Rise again (Iamb) • Hammer (Trochee) • Understand (Anapest) • Get a Life (Dactyl) • Strawberry (Dactyl) • Of Mice and Men (Iamb) • Changeable (Dactyl) • In the blink of an eye (Anapest)
Connotation: Rhythm • In order to determine the overall rhythm of a poem, you will also need to analyze the feet per line • The most common metric patterns include: • 1 foot: monometer • 2 feet: dimeter • 3 feet: trimeter • 4 feet: tetrameter • 5 feet: pentameter • 6 feet: hexameter
Connoation: Rhythm Read the following poem and identify its metric pattern My Papa's Waltz The whiskey on your breathCould make a small boy dizzy;But I hung on like death:Such waltzing was not easy.We romped until the pansSlid from the kitchen shelf;My mother's countenanceCould not unfrown itself. The hand that held my wristWas battered on one knuckle;At every step you missedMy right ear scraped a buckle. You beat time on my headWith a palm caked hard by dirt,Then waltzed me off to bedStill clinging to your shirt. Iambic trimeter-the same as a waltz!
Connoation: Melody • The melody of a poem can be analyzed by looking at different sound devices that are being used. For example: • Rhyme: two words have same sound on their last accented vowel • Assonance: repetition of vowel sounds in words or syllables: o harp and altar, of the fury fused • Onomatopoeia: words that sound like their meaning: buzz, boing, hiss, meow • Alliteration: words beginning with the same consonant sound: in a summer season, where soft was sun • Tone Quality • Long vowels suggest slow movement; short ones hurry: make vs. mad • Liquid consonants invoke a sense of rush (l,m,n,r) • Mutes invoke a sense of slowness (b,f,p,d,t,d,h,c,g,k) What kind of connotation might different melodies invoke?
Connotation Analyze the connotation of the following poem: O Captain! My Captain! By Walt WhitmanO CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done; The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won; The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring: But O heart! heart! heart! O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead. O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells; Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills; For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding; For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning; Here Captain! dear father! This arm beneath your head; It is some dream that on the deck, You’ve fallen cold and dead. My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still; My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will; The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done; From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won; Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells! But I, with mournful tread, Walk the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead.
Connotation: Imagery • There are two main categories of figurative language to look for: comparison and exaggeration • Comparison: Simile- two unlike things compared using “like” or “as” Ex. “That man looks like a bear.” Metaphor- two unlike things directly compared Ex. “The river snakes in coils on itself.” Personification- giving human qualities to things Ex. “The trees danced in the breeze.” Apostrophe- addressing some abstract object Ex. “O world! Tell me thy pain.” Literary Allusion- referring metaphorically to persons, places and things from other literature Ex. “It was an odyssey through the tangles of metaphors.”
Connotation: Imagery Examples of Exaggeration include: Hyperbole- saying more than is true Ex. “He wore his fingers to the bone.” Understatement- saying less than is true Ex. “Losing his job meant he could sleep late.” Irony- saying the opposite of what is true Ex. “War is kind.” Antithesis- using contrast for effect Ex. “Deserts are dry; oceans are wet.”
Connotation: Imagery • Read the following poem and identify moments of imagery Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein There is a place where the sidewalk endsAnd before the street begins,And there the grass grows soft and white,And there the sun burns crimson bright,And there the moon-bird rests from his flightTo cool in the peppermint wind.Let us leave this place where the smoke blows blackAnd the dark street winds and bends.Past the pits where the asphalt flowers growWe shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,And watch where the chalk-white arrows goTo the place where the sidewalk ends.Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,For the children, they mark, and the children, they knowThe place where the sidewalk ends.
Attitude or Tone • Use your three moments of figurative language to help determine an overall tone of the poem. While each of these moments may invoke a different feeling, how can you combine them to identify an overall tone that describes the entire poem? • Remember that the tone of the poem is about the attitude of the author. This may be different than the characters or subjects in the poem itself! Example tone words: • 1. accusatory-charging of wrong doing • 2. apathetic-indifferent due to lack of energy or concern • 3. awe-solemn wonder • 4. bitter-exhibiting strong animosity as a result of pain or grief • 5. cynical-questions the basic sincerity and goodness of people • 6. condescension; condescending-a feeling of superiority • 7. callous-unfeeling, insensitive to feelings of others • 8. contemplative-studying, thinking, reflecting on an issue • 9. critical-finding fault • 10. choleric-hot-tempered, easily angered • 11. contemptuous-showing or feeling that something is worthless or lacks respect • 12. caustic-intense use of sarcasm; stinging, biting • 13. conventional-lacking spontaneity, originality, and individuality • 14. disdainful-scornful • 15. didactic-author attempts to educate or instruct the reader • 16. derisive-ridiculing, mocking • 17. earnest-intense, a sincere state of mind
Attitude or Tone • Read the following poem. Identify three moments of figurative language and develop a tone. After Love There is no magic any more,We meet as other people do,You work no miracle for meNor I for you.You were the wind and I the sea --There is no splendor any more,I have grown listless as the poolBeside the shore.But though the pool is safe from stormAnd from the tide has found surcease,It grows more bitter than the sea,For all its peace.
Shifts • What major changes do you see in the poem? • When describing a shift, there always has to be a purpose or meaning behind it. Describe WHY you think the shift is there. • Look for shifts when you see: • stanzas, changes in line length, changes in metric patterns, break in rhyme scheme, key words, punctuation. • A shift could include a shift in: • Tone, setting, voice, perspective, idea
Shifts Review the poem “Where the Sidewalk Ends to identify shifts” Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein There is a place where the sidewalk endsAnd before the street begins,And there the grass grows soft and white,And there the sun burns crimson bright,And there the moon-bird rests from his flightTo cool in the peppermint wind.Let us leave this place where the smoke blows blackAnd the dark street winds and bends.Past the pits where the asphalt flowers growWe shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,And watch where the chalk-white arrows goTo the place where the sidewalk ends.Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,For the children, they mark, and the children, they knowThe place where the sidewalk ends.
Title (Again) • The first time you looked at the title, you were making predictions. Now that you have analyze the poem, this step requires you to provide reasoning for what significance you think the title has • Why was the poem titled what it was titled? • Look back at our previous poems and determine why each was given the title it was given. • Boa Constrictor • My Papa’s Waltz • My Captain! My Captain • Where the Sidewalk Ends • After Love
Theme • All poem analysis ultimately comes down to this: what is the theme of the poem? • A theme is a universal lesson or message that can be taken from the poem. What is the author trying to say about the subject? • When analyzing a theme, attempt to find at least TWO different themes the poem could be discussing. Explain how that theme was developed in the poem.
Theme: Form • The theme is often linked to the poetic form of the poem as well • Different forms include: • BALLAD: a song or song-like poem that tells a story • LYRIC: expresses emotions or thoughts rather than telling a story • ODE: a long lyrical poem on a serious subject • ELEGY: mourns a death that has already occurred • SONNET: a 14 line lyric poem that has one of several rhyme schemes • Italian/Petrarchan(abbaabba, cdecde) • Shakespearian/English (abab, cdcd, efef, gg)
Theme • When analyzing theme, think about the purpose of the poem. • There are four major purposes: • Tell a story • Present a picture • Express an emotional experience • Reflect on life
Practicing TP-CASTT Read the following poem and walk through the steps of TP-CASTT in its entirety! “Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind” (page 287) Blow, blow, thou winter wind Thou art not so unkind As man's ingratitude; Thy tooth is not so keen, Because thou art not seen, Although thy breath be rude. Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly: Most freindship if feigning, most loving mere folly: Then heigh-ho, the holly! This life is most jolly. Freeze, freeze thou bitter sky, That does not bite so nigh As benefits forgot: Though thou the waters warp, Thy sting is not so sharp As a friend remembered not. Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly: Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly: Then heigh-ho, the holly! This life is most jolly. • William Shakespeare