Poem Analysis

Choose one of the following poems

“The Couriers”
“The Night Dances”
“Poppies in October”
“Death & Co.”
“Getting There”
“Mary’s Song”
“Letter in November”
“The Bee Meeting”
“The Arrival of the Bee Box”
“The Swarm”
“The Hanging Man”
“Little Fugue”

Write down the poem you were assigned here: __________________________________

For your essay, you will be presenting on one of the poems (chosen by me) from

Sylvia Plath’s Ariel. You will be required to do the following:

  • talk about a theme of the poem by finding a topic and asking yourself what idea the

poem supports about a significant topic. Note: A theme is a statement, not a word…

  • talk about a significant literary device in the poem—one that you think is doing

something powerful that relates to theme

  • discuss how the literary device you chose to highlight relates to a theme of the poem

Possible literary devices include: metaphor, allusion, symbolism, enjambment, imagery, tone,

characterization, repetition, motif, conceit, etc. You can find an extensive list on

literarydevices.net or on handouts on Lea. This one from UVic is particularly helpful. Feel free to

talk about more than one, or about how they are working together if you find it useful.

Your presentation should take the following format:

  1. Introduce the poem. What is it about? What stood out to you in it?
  2. Mini-lesson: Define your literary device/teach it to the class
  3. Give 2-3 examples of this device not from the poem that your peers will

understand. (For example, an example of a symbol is that a dove symbolizes

peace, etc.)

  1. Share your revised, precise theme statement with the class. Make sure it follows the

requirements of a theme (aka. is universal, is neither too broad nor too narrow, is a

statement not a word, etc.)

  1. Point out and explain an example of your literary device in your assigned poem.
  2. Discuss how that literary device relates to the theme. Why would Plath have chosen

to use it? How is she using it? What is its special effect in the poem?

  1. Make a concluding statement and ask if anyone has any questions (be prepared to

answer these).

You will be evaluated on the following:

  1. Presenting a main idea/theme that is not a topic, moral or summary.
  2. Illustrating how the literary device supports the theme you chose to discuss.
  3. Expressing information in your own words.
  4. Making eye contact with your audience.
  5. Speaking clearly and audibly.
  6. Giving full and detailed answers to questions your peers have about your poem.
  7. Including a detail about what you liked about the poem.
  8. Successfully informing/interesting/entertaining your peers.
  9. Giving a conclusion to your presentation.
  10. Asking questions to your peers about their presentation.
  11. If you rehearsed your presentation.

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