Assignment Description
You are asked to write a short essay (1000 words). In this essay, you are asked to analyze any poem from the textbook or www.poetryfoundation.org (Links to an external site.) Your task is to write a detailed literary analysis of this poem using at least 3 scholarly articles from the Troy University library databases. An essay that does not meet this length requirement will be graded down. Any essay which does not use or cite at least 3 scholarly articles from the Troy library databases will receive significant point deductions.
There are 2 components in this essay: (1) interpretive which shows how YOU interpret the meanings behind poetic language and (2) research which shows how you use SCHOLARLY articles to lend support to your argument/thesis.
You should demonstrate that your analysis contributes to a “fresh” take on this poem. You have definitely something new to say about this poem. Engage your imagination and your senses to explore the words in the poem that “speak” to you. I encourage you to use the Oxford English Dictionary (available via Troy library databases) to discover the meaning of Poe’s words and their etymology. Note that the Oxford English Dictionary does not count as a scholarly article. It’s a resource that helps you understand the diction of a poem.
There are two possible ways of how you can write a poem analysis.
First, you can analyze a poem via explication, i.e. by explaining how its imagery, figures of speech (metaphors, similes, personification, hyperbole, etc), and symbolism contribute to unraveling the major themes of a poem. A successful explication should discover how each part of a poem contributes to its overall meaning. Your goal as a writer is to shed new light on the meanings that the poet wanted to share with the reader. Let your writing be a process of discovery and enjoyment despite any difficulties that you encounter. Please, see an example of a student’s explication of a poem in your textbook.

• Starting with the title of the poem proceed from the first lines to the end.
• Read each line closely and analyze the details of the poem.
• Show how each of the literary devices that you analyze sheds new light on the subject matter of the poem.
Second, you can approach this assignment by writing an in-depth analysis of the poem. Instead of examining and explaining several aspects of this poem, you can focus and analyze one such aspect. For example, you can analyze only the use of imagery, symbolism, or diction in the poem. In your analysis, you will focus only on a single, manageable element of this poem. Please, see an example of a student’s analysis of a poem in your textbook.
• Focus on a single, manageable element of a poem, such as symbolism, imagery, or figurative language
• Show how this element contributes to the meaning of the entire poem.
• Support your claim about this element with specific examples from the poem.

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