Poem Analysis Essay

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Poem Analysis Essay

Looking for tips on how to handle a poem analysis essay? Check out this guide for comprehensive information on how to perform a poem analysis, plus tips and tricks you will find useful.

What Is Poem Analysis?

A poem analysis refers to a process where one examines the elements in a poem to gain a more in-depth understanding. It requires one to analyze the poem line by line and extract the various themes and other stylistic devices, such as motifs, that contribute to its meaning. 

Other benefits of poem analysis include the following:

  • Gaining an understanding of the structure and pattern used
  • Appreciate the deep meaning
  • Improved critical thinking skills
  • Helps teachers see if students' word recognition and analytical skills are improving

9 Elements of Poem Analysis      

  1. Form- simply means the structure of a poem. It includes rhythm, rhyme systems, and repetition. 
  2. Narrator- the narrator refers to the voice telling the story. It could be in the first person perspective where one tells their story, second person where they address “you,” and third person where they talk about the character's thoughts, actions, and motivations hence can be described as “omniscient.”
  3. Mood- refers to the general atmosphere or emotions one gets from a poem. It is influenced by both word choice and subject matter. Some poems are sad, while others are joyous or have many other emotions. 
  4. Sound- sound devices are also known as musical devices and use techniques such as alliteration and onomatopoeia
  5. Figures of speech- these refer to the flowery use of language to emphasize something or create an effect. Examples include similes, hyperbole, antithesis, irony, and metaphors.
  6. Rhyme- is the repetition of syllables or use of similar sounding words in the middle or end of a verse.
  7. Meter- describes the rhythm or beat pattern in a single line of poetry. It looks at the number of stressed syllables in a text and their arrangement. An example is the iambic pentameter.
  8. Theme- refers to the subject or lesson to be learned from a poem.
  9. Context- explains the time, place, and circumstances that influenced the work in question.

We also offer guidance on other literary works, such as our guide on how to write a literary analysis essay. As such, you can place your order today for your poem analysis essay or any other literary work you need help with.

5 Steps For A Poem Analysis

To get started with your poem analysis essay, you need to use certain steps to ensure you cover all the relevant content. This requires you to take the following steps:

1. Read the poem, then read it aloud

Read through the poem to understand the general idea the writer had, then read it aloud to understand the stylistic devices used, such as the rhythm. This will help you notice other traits, such as mood and form as well. 

2. Map out a rhyme scheme

Once you read a poem, you will notice the rhyme scheme used or meter. At this point, you can map it out by pointing out how certain lines or syllables are similar.

3. Check for enjambment

Enjambment refers to the running over of a sentence from one line in a poem to another without any punctuation. It encourages the reader to keep reading by creating suspense. This technique is used in “Daughters” by Lucille Clifton:

Daughters

A woman who shies at the head

Of my grandmother’s head

Brilliant woman, I like to think

You whispered into her ear

Instructions.

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4. Analyze the form

There are different forms a poem can take, and this often depends on the stanzas and the number of syllables in a line. As such, a poem could be anything from a stanza, limerick, haiku, sestina, or many more.

5. Check the language used

Every piece of text follows a specific language to communicate the mood the writer chooses to convey meaning. For this, the writer may use metaphors or figures of speech, as well as literary devices such as alliteration. 

6. Study the content

Try to decipher the meaning of the text and the themes within. You may also analyze when it was written, to gain insight into the historical context that inspired the writer. Others would also recommend that you read other poem analysis essay examples to see different interpretations or understand the sounds made during a poetry reading. 

7. Identify the narrator

Check to see if the poem is written from the point of view of the first, second, or third person. This lets you know how the reader understands and can participate in the story. A first-person perspective uses I, while the second person uses you, and the third person uses words like he or she. They are more likely to feel directly engaged in the first-person perspective but will feel like an external observer from the third-person perspective. At times, you may come across a second-person perspective, but it is rare. 

8. Interpret the poem line by line

Now that you understand the form, structure, themes, meaning, and much more with regard to the poem, you can analyze it. You can do this by offering a summary and then paraphrasing each line. It is also advisable to understand that there is likely more than one meaning or major theme, so explore different ideas.

We also offer help on how to cite a poem, so feel free to check it out.

Poem Analysis Structure

1. Introduction

In this section, you will begin by introducing the poem, the poet, and the background details, such as when it was published, before proceeding to form the rest of your analytical essay outline. You may also offer a brief summary explaining what the poem is about before you proceed. It is key to include a hook to grab the reader’s attention and keep it throughout the poem analysis essay. A thesis statement is also key for a good poem analysis, as it is the driving force behind the essay. 

2. Body

This is the main body of the text and includes a detailed explanation of your points. It can be either a poetry paragraph or several, depending on the word count required. It is in this section that you present the narrator, mood, tone, theme, use of poetic devices, and figures of speech. 

3. Conclusion

Use this section to wrap up your essay by combining the various elements of the poem analysis, such as the themes, mood, tone, and other poetic devices extracted. You may also comment on the impact of the piece based on its meaning. 

We also offer advice on how to write an essay outline, so feel free to check it out.

Poem Analysis Example

Would you like to write something similar but have no time or lack the skills? Place your order today for help with your poem analysis essay, and our experts will be happy to help. Below is a short poem analysis essay example of If by Rudyard Kipling. 

“ The poem “If” was written in 1910 by Rudyard Kipling and is included in the book Rewards and Fairies. The poem is written to his son, and he advises him to live life with moderation, composure, integrity, humility, and self-control. He also mentions never letting triumph or disaster go to one’s head. The poem’s main theme is stoicism, which focuses on self-control and prioritizing unbiased thinking.

In the first stanza, the poet talks about staying focused and patient while others lose their heads and deal with not looking too good or talking too wisely. This is meant to encourage the reader to believe in themselves. We also notice that it is written in the second perspective, which is rare in poetry. We also notice the use of enjambment. In the second stanza, he talks about dreams but not letting dreaming cloud your reasoning and also mentions thinking and taking action. He also advises his son to handle triumph and despair, handle when others lie about him, or if he can turn truth into despicable lies. This suggests the importance of remaining calm and keeping cool, which is a key tenet of stoicism.

The poet then states that if you can keep it a secret when you bet all your winnings and lose it, if you can hold on when everything else falls, talk with kings without being pretentious, if you can handle friends and foes, and fill every moment with ease you can have everything the earth has to offer. This is the theme of hope, which is also a central belief in stoicism which discourages emotional behavior. The poet also used the iambic pentameter, with an unstressed syllable following a stressed syllable. As such, there is a bouncy and musical rhythm. 

In summary, If by Rudyard Kipling is a famous poem that demonstrates the virtues of stoicism, which promotes the use of rational thought and action over emotions. Themes include honor, self-control, and calmness. The tone is also rather serious since it focuses on advice about life. We can therefore conclude that the values the poet encourages were useful in both his and our age to help the youth form a proper sense of morality. As such, he may have chosen stoicism because it was popular and aligned with these values.”

If you would like a similar summary or analysis for other poetic works, consider checking out our Beowulf summary.

Tips When Writing A Poem Analysis

Just like with other essay genres, you can benefit from some pointers to help you write a proper poem analysis essay. 

1. Look up any unfamiliar words

If you do not recognize a particular phrase or word, check for the definition. This is because the piece may be from a past era and contain some foreign words. This is especially common for students reading Shakespeare’s works since the legendary author is credited for inventing certain words, some of which are not commonly used today. As such, you may encounter vocabulary such as abhor (reject), absolute (perfect), and balk (hesitate). 

2. Note the connotations, allusions, and symbols

A lot of poetry includes symbols and connotations. A connotation refers to what a certain word suggests as opposed to its definition. For example, a rose connotes love and romance, while an allusion is a reference to other texts. An example is when an author describes someone as Romeo, which alludes to one of the protagonists in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. A symbol maybe something like a flag that symbolizes societal changes. 

3. Understand how to read the poem

It is necessary to know whether the poem was structured to be read fast or slow. For example, some poems by Dr. Seuss, like Green Eggs and Ham, are written in the iambic tetrameter and are not meant to be read slowly, as it is comedic. A poetry paragraph may also be structured uniquely, so be keen since it can also affect your analytical essay outline.

If you need tips for other genres, you can also view our other articles, such as how to format an essay.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the other term for poem analysis?

A poem analysis may also be called a poetry explication, which is just a shorter poem analysis essay that describes the meaning and elements of a poem. 

2. What is the spacing between lines in a poem?

A stanza break refers to the line between stanzas. It is meant to show a break in focus or give the poem a particular structure. For example, a two-line stanza is a couplet, while a three-line is a tercet, and a four-line stanza is known as a quatrain

3. Should poems rhyme?

Not necessarily. While some poems may rhyme, others do not.

Summary

To sum it up, a poem analysis refers to the examination of elements of a poem to help gain a more in-depth understanding. Your instructor may require you to do this, as it aids in improving your critical thinking and analytical skills. These elements include meter, rhyme, mood, sounds made during a poetry reading and relevant devices, form, and many others. Some poems are easier to analyze than others, especially if a student uses the steps, tips, and structure outlined. However, they may still need help, so they seek out our poem analysis essay services. Students like us because we offer low pricing for quality work, in addition to other guarantees such as plagiarism-free content. For these reasons, you should place your order today for the poem analysis essay help online.

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