Note: This assignment is the first in a series of assignments that prepare you to write Essay 1, which is explained in the Essay 1 Assignment Sheet in Unit 1. You are welcome to use all or any of the ideas you produce in assignments #1.3 - 1.7 in your Essay 1. These assignments are designed to move you through a productivewriting process for Essay 1.
To be able to write Essay 1 effectively, you must first select one of the two Namoi Shihab Nye poems (which you can find links to in the Essay 1 Assignment Sheet in Unit 1) and jot down any ideas you have about it. From these ideas, you will find the main idea you will eventually turn into Essay 1. This is why I've created this analysis assignment. Many students choose to write their analysis essays in one shot, doing all their initial thinking as they write their one and only draft--and this explains why many students have poorly written essays with unclear main ideas, oversimplified main ideas, or obvious main ideas as well as unorganized and underdeveloped body paragraphs. Good writers do a lot of thinking and brainstorming and question-asking before they begin drafting papers. To push you to do all your analysis before you begin writing the essay, I've designed this "analysis notes" exercise with specific questions you can answer to help you produce fruitful and higher quality ideas that will lead you to stronger, more focused essays filled with ideas worth sharing with your readers.
This assignment targets Unit Learning Outcomes
- 6. Break readings down into their essential parts (targets SLO 4)
- 7. Interpret literary texts texts (targets SLO 4)
First, make sure you have studied Chapter 5 in Wilhoit and read the Essay 1 assignment sheet in the Unit 1 button. You will find the links to Naomi Shihab Nye's two poems in the Essay 1 assignment sheet. (This Essay 1 assignment sheet tells you exactly what Essay 1 is, what you must do, and how you will be graded on it. It's essential reading if you want to make a passing attempt at Essay 1.)
Second, complete the following analysis assignment in a word processor document (Word, Pages, GoogleDocs) and save it as a .doc, .docx, or .pdf: Answer all of these questions just below fully enough so that I understand what you mean. You do not need to retype the questions, but please number your answers so that they correspond to the question numbers. The easiest thing to do is to copy and paste the questions into your word processor and type your answers beneath them.
Poetry Analysis Questions
Answer these questions with a sense of inquiry, as though you aren’t looking for right answers (though questions one and two have right answers), but as though you are making hypotheses, as though you are trying to understand the poem better. If you approach it this way, your analysis of the poem will be less stressful and more fruitful and perhaps rewarding.
- a. Who is Naomi Shihab Nye? b. Where did you get this information?
- Which of the two poems have you selected to analyze in Essay 1?
- When did she write this poem?
- a. What is this poem about? b. What in the poem makes you say this poem is about that?
- What are some important images in the poem? (By images we mean descriptions of things or scenes or actions that target your five senses: sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste.)
- How do these images impact the poem’s meaning?
- What are some important concrete details in the poem ? (Concrete details are physical things, as opposed to abstract concepts. Examples include a hand, a brick, a tree, a spoon, and so on.)
- What makes these concrete details important to the poem’s meaning?
- What is happening in the poem, exactly? Is there a plot?
- a. Do a web or dictionary search for a definition of poetry. b. Type this definition out here and name your source. c. Does this poem match that definition? d. Whether yes or no, what does that tell you about this poem?
- If you have any of thoughts you want to get down, get them down here now and ask yourself, “How do these thoughts help me (and others I might write to) better understand the poem?”
- 15 Points = All questions are answered fully enough for me to understand the writer's thinking. There's clear evidence the writer is consistently engaged in thinking analytically about the poem for the purpose of generating ideas for Essay 1.
- 8 Points = All questions are answered fully enough for me to understand the writer's thinking. There's clear evidence the writer is inconsistently engaged in thinking analytically about the poem for the purpose of generating ideas for Essay 1. This typically, though not solely, comes in the form of short answers that show little to no analytical thinking, as though the writer is rushing through the assignment.
- 0 Points = Not all questions are answered. Or the attempt shows evidence of plagiarism. Late attempts and no attempts will earn 0 points.
- There is no “partial credit” for this assignment. Either it’s complete or it’s incomplete. Complete attempts may earn credit if the content demonstrates the targeted skills and strategies of the assignment. Incomplete attempts will not earn credit.