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Discussion #1: Elements of Poetry

Purpose: To interpret elements of a poem.

WRITING PROMPT: Choose ONE of the poems in the section of “Conformity and Rebellion” (pages 390-415) and write an explication of it that includes an examination of its imagery. The poems are going to be similar to the short stories in that they will all have a theme, and your goal will be to arrive at a theme for the poem. In doing an explication, carefully work through the poem to indicate the following:

Who is the speaker?

What happens in the poem?

What images are presented?

What emotional effects are suggested by the images?

What theme is suggested?

Here is an example, using “Why They Went” by Elizabeth Bradfield.

Who is the speaker? The speaker is a narrator who is describing what happens to the people in the poem. He or she knows the characters’ thoughts, so this is an omniscient narrator.

What happens in the poem? The narrator begins with a description of the setting. We can see that the area is cold from the start, with extreme snow as the characters are “snow blind.” We can infer that this is one of the poles because in this setting “the sun never left them.”

The poem describes what the characters want in the first two stanzas. They want home comforts of toddies (warm alcoholic drinks), warm beds, and “Eden.” The narrator links this to a longing for “when we knew/with certainty that something watched and loved us.” I interpret this as a longing for religious certainty because of the Eden reference, but it might also refer to family since the characters do not need to earn love, as “all we had to do is show up.” The final stanza shows us that the characters do go home (“And they came home”) but that they “longed again,” so the main question is what they longed for then. I interpret this as wanting to be back in the place they had come from.

What images are presented? The images are tactile (frost bitten, hot toddies, warmed with a stone, warm mouths), gustatory (fresh pie, roasted unflippered thing), and visual (snow blind, sun, diamonds). These show a change from the first stanza, where the images showed unpleasant aspects because of what they endured and what they wanted, and the third stanza, where there is eternal light and diamonds from their breath in the cold. That helps to prepare readers for the final turn, where they long to be back at the cold place after they had returned home.

What emotional effects are suggested? The initial emotions are those of longing for comforts of home. The date of the poem is unknown, but the images suggests home comforts of the 1900s or earlier in a British country, given the food, drinks, and method of warming a bed.

What theme is suggested? The last line is an important one because it indicates that when the characters got what they wanted by coming home, they were not satisfied. Home, then, didn’t fulfill all the longings, though surely it fulfilled the simple physical comforts shown in the first stanza. I think the second stanza is important in showing that the longing the characters had was for more than physical comforts, in wanting the “certainty” of being loved. At home, then, they did not have this certainty, I believe. Home was comfortable but was not “Eden,” the place of perfect love and comfort. So, if the poem is about the loss of religious faith, this suggests to me the theme that one’s physical setting cannot provide the faith one wants. I also see the theme that those who choose to go on an adventure such as they did, which is suggested to me by the title of “Why They Went,” are not satisfied by being in the comfort of home but want to experience the new, where they can gradually change from feeling discontented about the physical conditions to feeling that the place has great beauty.

You may well have a different interpretation of this poem. One of the nice things about poetry is the way that our own experiences and expectations do allow us to bring different things to the interpretations.

In choosing the poem for your explication, please be careful not to use one for which you have no initial perceptions. In other words, choose a poem that you had a strong reaction to. Regarding peer replies, I’m not looking for repetitions of the same ideas. If you find you agree completely with what someone else has already written about a poem, choose a different one for your reply.

Do not use any outside research for this discussion; your analysis should be completely original.

Homework 2 below

Purpose: To prepare you for your Final Research Paper.

As part of the prewriting stage of your Final Research Paper, this two-part assignment asks you to create a detailed outline of your main ideas, along with a Works Cited page of sources you plan to use for the paper. Since this assignment is meant to prepare you for writing your Final Research Paper, be sure to create an outline based upon a topic that interests you and locate sources that are related to that topic. If you found credible sources for Assignment #3, you may use them for this assignment.


In the outline portion of this assignment, clearly distinguish the main topics you plan to discuss in your final paper and add details for each topic using complete sentences. Since this is part of the prewriting stage, your ideas may change by the time you begin writing final paper, and the final draft of the paper may differ slightly (or significantly) from the outline you create for this assignment. That is perfectly fine! The goal is to start thinking about your final paper sooner than later.

Please use a specific, consistent outline format; feel free to use the structure recommended in the “Literary Research Paper Structure” from Valencia College. There should be at least three topics outlined for body paragraphs, and each body paragraph should have at least three specific details or points. Please see the student sample attached below for more guidance.

Works Cited

On the last page of your outline document, create a Works Cited that lists at least four sources that you think you’ll use in your research paper. You must have two academic sources (from the Macomb Library databases) and two popular sources (from the internet). Feel free to use two of the sources you evaluated from Assignment #3 as long as they are credible. Please reference the MLA video I have posted in Week 5 for help with formatting.

The Final Research Paper topics can be found under the Final Research Paper link below the “Upcoming Assignments” heading in both the Week 4 and Week 5 modules. Please see the rubric below for an explanation of expectation for this assignment.

Assignment #4 Student Sample


Assignment #4 Rubric

Assignment #4 Rubric

Criteria Ratings Pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeOutline Development & Organization

10.0 to >7.0 pts

The outline shows the full development of the paper. It uses full sentences throughout. It is easy to follow the ideas of the outline because of the clear organization.

7.0 to >5.0 pts

The outline is complete except for one section. The outline uses phrases but is clear. The organization of the outline is clear except for one or two places.

5.0 to >0 pts

The outline is incomplete. It is written in phrases or single words and does not give a clear picture of the ideas. The organization of ideas in the outline is not clear.

10.0 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeOutline Format

10.0 to >7.0 pts

The outline follows standard outline formatting.

7.0 to >5.0 pts

The outline follows standard outline formatting with one or two slight errors.

5.0 to >0 pts

The outline does not follow standard outline formatting.

10.0 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeThesis statement

10.0 to >7.0 pts

The thesis statement is a complete sentences that gives an assertion about the topic.

7.0 to >5.0 pts

The thesis statement is a complete sentence that gives a fact or statement of taste but not an assertion.

5.0 to >0 pts

The thesis statement is not a complete sentence or, if complete, still provides only a partial idea of the major claim.

10.0 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeWorks Cited Format

10.0 to >7.0 pts

The page uses correct font, spacing, and order of citations. There are no errors in the order of items in the citations.

7.0 to >5.0 pts

There are a couple of errors in the font, spacing, or order of the citations. There are one or two errors in the order of items in the citations.

5.0 to >0 pts

There are several errors in the font, spacing, or order of the citations. There are three or more errors in the order of items in the citations.

10.0 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeMechanics & Punctuation

10.0 to >7.0 pts

Capitalization and indication of type of title are correct throughout. All punctuation is correct.

7.0 to >5.0 pts

There are one or two errors in the capitalization or indication of type of title. There are one or two errors in punctuation.

5.0 to >0 pts

There are more than a couple of errors in the capitalization or indication of type of title. There are three or more different errors in punctuation.

10.0 pts

Total Points: 50.0

Homework 3

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