Thursday, March 25, 2010

Poetry essay topics, due April 6, 2010

Choose one of the topics below for an 800-word essay, due at the beginning of class Tuesday, April 6, 2010. You're not required to use secondary sources, but they should help you with your paper if you consult them before you begin writing. And, if you want to earn an A for your paper, you will need at least three secondary sources.

  • Demonstrate how the duke's character is progressively revealed in "My Last Duchess" and evaluate how the speaker's voice is different from the poet's.
  • Compare and contrast tone and theme in Whitman's "To a Locomotive in Winter" and Dickinson's "I like to see it lap the miles."
  • Compare and contrast Saenz's "To the Desert" and Donne's "Batter my heart, three-personed God, for you."
  • Paraphrase Kees's "For My Daughter," describe the poem's tone and major theme, and write a personal response to the poem.
  • Explore and evaluate symbolism and double-meanings in "White Lies." Explain how double-meaning is central to the poem's theme.
  • Develop a plausible interpretation of "Luke Havergal." Would you advise Luke to follow the speaker's advice? Why or why not?
  • Analyze the meaning of "God's Grandeur." Based on the poet's life, in what ways might the poem reflect Hopkins's own views on God and creation?
  • Compare and contrast themes and tone in "My Father's Waltz" and "For My Daughter."
  • Make a case for why short poems such as "I Shoot the Hippopotamus," "On my boat on lake Cayuga," and "On the imprint of the first English edition of The Works of Max Beerbohm" are aesthetically superior to longer, more "serious" poems.
I encourage you to choose a topic and see what the library has available to help you with your essay. Stay optimistic, and see me if you need any assistance.

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