read the poem thoroughly, present your analysis of the poem in an essay. Think of a major claim that you can make about the poem and build an argument to support that claim using evidence from the text. (An essay that contains such an argument is called an explication of a poem.) Your claim may be a specific interpretation of the poem, a view about the poet’s attitude toward the subject, the relationship of the subject to the historical context of the poem, the significance of some element of the poem’s form, or another similar type of analysis.
Your essay should include the following:
- your interpretation of the poem
- textual evidence to support your interpretation
- an analysis of specific elements of the poem
- a discussion of how specific elements of the poem (such as theme, figurative language, or structure) affect the meaning of the entire poem
- a major claim about the poem
- an argument to support your claim
Use Internet resources for help on crafting your essay, such as the ones below:
- Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab
- Questions and answers about explications from Vanderbilt University
You can also consult other essays and discussions about the poem you choose. Be sure to cite any ideas in your essay that came from the Internet or other sources, and remember to cite all the resources you used for ideas as well as direct quotes in your essay by using in-text citations and providing a works cited list in MLA format.
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