Essay Instructions: 1. An interpretation of: "Auto Wreck" by Karl Shapiro
2. Three full pages typed.
3. Look at the structure, the dramatic situation, the poetic devices used to convey the message to the reader. Notice the tone and word choices. Follow the pattern for analysis and remember that your opinion must be supported by evidence in the poem.
4. Before starting your paper, reread the student explication for "Digging". (I have included this example after the Poetry Terms List)
Your paper must:
a. Follow MLA Format;
b. Use Times New Roman 12 and be double spaced;
c. Be saved as a Word Document (not WordPerfect);
d. Be dropped in the digital drop box by the specified time. Due August 8th by 11:59pm
I've included our Poetry Terms List
Abstract diction: words which express concepts or ideas
Allegory: a work in which the characters, events, setting, etc. have symbolic meaning
Alliteration: repetition of the same consonant sound at the beginning of successive words
Allusion: an indirect reference to any person, place, or thing--fictitious, historical, or actual
Assonance: repetition of the same vowel sound
Blank verse: unrhymed iambic pentameter (iambic unstressed stressed)
Cacophony: when the sound of words in a poem create a harsh, discordant effect
Caesura: an obvious pause in a line of poetry
Closed form: poem which follows some sort of pattern
Concrete diction: words which refer to what we can immediately perceive with
one of the senses
Connotation: overtones or suggestions of additional meaning that a word gains from the contexts in which it has been used in the past
Couplet: two-lined stanzas, usually rhymed
Denotation: a meaning of a word as defined in the dictionary
Diction: choice of words
Didactic poetry: poetry written to state a message or teach a body of knowledge
End-stopped line: the line has a pause, however brief, at the end of a line
Euphony: when the sounds of the words in a poem work together with
meaning to please the mind and ear
Figures of speech: figurative language; a figure of speech may be said to occur
whenever a speaker or writer departs from the usual denotations of words (simile, metaphor, personification, overstatement (hyperbole), understatement, metonymy, and synecdoche)
Heroic couplet: two rhymed lines of iambic pentameter
Hyperbole: (overstatement): exaggeration made for effect
Imagery: a word or sequence of words that refers to any sensory experience (visual, auditory, olfactory, taste, and tactile imagery)
Irony: a manner of speaking that implies a discrepancy
Metaphor: a statement that one thing is something else, which in a literal sense, it is not
Metonymy: the name of a thing is substituted for that of another closely associated with it (example from your text)
A little rule, a little sway,
A sun beam on a winter's day,
Is all the proud and mighty have
Between the cradle and grave.
Cradle equals birth and grave equals death.
Onomatopoeia: an attempt to represent a thing or action by a word that imitates the sounds associated with it (zoom, whiz, bang, pitter-patter, buzz)
Open form: poem does not follow a set pattern
Persona: the speaker of a poem; not necessarily the poet
Personification: a figure of speech in which a thing, an animal, or an abstract term is made human
Rhythm: the recurrence of stresses and pauses in a poem
Rhyme scheme: the order in which the rhymed words occur
Run-on line: line does not end in punctuation
Satiric poetry: a kind of comic poetry that generally conveys a message; usually the poet uses humor in the form of hyperbole to bring about social change
Simile: a comparison of two things indicated by some connective, usually like, as, or than
Stanza: group of lines whose
An poetry explication example:
Sample of a Student?s Explication of Seamus Heaney?s "Digging"
Among all possible human relationships, few are more complex than that which exists between father and son. Throughout the course of such a relationship, many conflicts are certain to arise which place sire and offspring at odds with one another. Quite often, the failure of the son to "follow in the footsteps" of his father causes the deepest of divisions between the two and frequently severs the bonds of love which exist between them. In his work, "Digging", poet Seamus Heaney comments upon a young man?s relationship with his father and grandfather and touches upon just such a conflict. Unlike many relationships, however, Heaney?s poem reveals not a severing of bonds with his progenitors, but a strengthening of them instead.
Heaney uses the first person point of view as evidenced by the word "my" in the first stanza. Regional references, like Toner?s Bog, lead the reader to believe that the poem is set in Ireland. The first stanza displays a somewhat forced rhyme scheme of A,A,B,B,B; however, the scheme completely breaks down and blank verse prevails through the remainder of the work. Heaney begins the poem by using a simile to describe the pen which rests comfortable in his hand "snug as a gun". This simile serves as an allusion to the path which the speaker has chosen in life, that of the writer, and of the tool of his trade, the pen. The stanza continues with a description of the sounds occurring below his window as his father digs in the flowerbeds. Using decidedly assonant terms such as "thumb", "snug", and "gun", as well as the alliteration in "gravelly ground", Heaney sets a rather masculine tone through his choice of gruff sound words. As if beginning to daydream, the narrator looks down upon the scene and begins to recollect.
As the young man contemplates his father?s labored "straining rump among the flowerbeds", he uses a metaphor to transport the reader back in time as his father "comes up twenty years away". Recalling a time when his father labored in the Irish potato fields rather than in flowerbeds, the speaker describes the physical toil which characterized his father?s "chosen path". The description of his father?s labors in the third stanza takes on a masculine strength, yet gentle tone. The narrator looks back fondly upon times when he apparently assisted his father in the potato fields, noting his love for the "cool hardness" of the harvesting of new potatoes hidden in the ground. The descriptive images of a "coarse" boot "nestled" on the lug, the "shaft" of the shovel "levered firmly" against the "inside knee", and the "bright edge" of the heavy shovel all serve to paint a picture of a laborer comfortable with the tool of his trade. The son?s admiration for his father?s labor is evident in the brief fourth stanza as he lovingly notes "By god, the old man could handle a spade." This reverence, however, triggers an even earlier recollection of his grandfather.
Now the young man boasts of his grandfather?s ability to "cut more turf in a day than any other man on Toner?s Bog." Like the narrator?s father, the grandfather deftly uses the shovel to uncover "the good turf", hidden, like the father?s potatoes, under the ground. To describe the rhythmic action needed in the peat cutting process, Heaney uses a combination of assonance and consonance as in the phrase "nicking and slicing neatly". The assonance of the long "o" sounds, the alliteration of the "s" sounds, and the imagery created by appealing to the senses of smell and hearing combine in the sixth stanza as recollections of the father and grandfather mingle in the "the cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap of soggy peat"; these memories awaken the speaker to those "living roots" so entrenched in the physical labor of digging. The reference to "roots" is an allusion to his family heritage and the adjective "living" refers to his father and himself as the two current generations. The speaker ends the sixth stanza with the lament that he has "no spade to follow men like them", who labored so diligently to uncover that which is hidden in the ground.
In closing, the narrator repeats the opening description of the pen and states confidently, "I?ll dig with it," ostensibly comparing the tool of his trade, the pen, with those of his ancestors, the shovel. In contemplating his chosen career, the young man seems to reach an inward peace; while he did not "follow in the footsteps of his fathers", he digs nonetheless?not in the ground, but in the mind to uncover hidden truths. The reader is left with the feeling that this man?s ancestors would be proud.
Excerpt From Essay:
Essay Instructions: The book I am using is 8th edition literature and the writing process. I would like aessay on Karl Shairo's Auto Wreck. Thank you For Essay Assignment 2, you need to write an essay of at least 1000 words that helps readers understand one of the following poems:
Karl Shapiro's "Auto Wreck" (638-639)
James Dickey's "The Leap" (648-649)
Adrienne Rich's "The Roofwalker" (link)
These poems may not have much in common thematically, but I think they are good poems that will be interesting subjects for essays. And all three of the poems seem to tell us something important about life. Before you post comments in our discussion forum and especially before you begin writing your draft of Essay 2, make sure to read the poems repeatedly, looking up any words that you do not understand and doing your best to understand the meaning conveyed in the poems.
You can assume that your audience has read but has not studied the poem you are analyzing, so you should not simply summarize the literal level of the poem. Instead, you should give your audience an interpretation of the poem, some insightful explanation of the poem that will help your audience understand its meaning and significance.
Your essay should follow the conventions of MLA documentation. After each quotation from the poem, include a parenthetical citation of the line number(s), for the quotation, "like this" (12-13). Do not cite the page number(s). See "Quoting Poetry Correctly" below for more information. You also need to include a separate "Work Cited" page listing publication information for the poem. The sample essay on pages 531-534 demonstrates the correct way to cite your source and how to prepare the "Work Cited" page. (But note than we are using the 8th edition of the textbook, not the 7th edition, as in the sample "Work Cited" page.)
Make sure to read the assigned chapters of the textbook carefully. The chapters should give you a good sense of how to interpret, analyze, and write about a poem. Remember as well that the first three chapters of the textbook provide valuable information about writing essays.
We will discuss all three poems, and our discussions should give you good ideas that you might explore in more depth in your essay. Feel free to use some of the ideas suggested by other members of the class, but be careful not to plagiarize from others. Plagiarism would occur if you copied sentences or even phrases from other class members and presented them as your own in your essay. On the other hand, if other class members bring up ideas about a poem that you think are interesting or insightful, feel free to use these ideas as a starting point, presenting them in your own way and examining them in more depth in your essay.
Because your paper will analyze a poem, you must identify and explain some of the "poetic" elements of the poem, such as images, metaphors, similes, personification, symbols, and connotative meanings. Of course, you do not need to explain all of these elements in each poem. All of the elements might not even appear in the poem you are analyzing, but your essay must include a discussion of some of these elements of poetry and the meanings they convey.
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