The essay assignment for this week is to compose an essay of at least 750 words in which you offer your interpretation of a literary element (such as theme, imagery, symbolism, or characterization) in one of the assigned poems. You may choose any poem from our reading list.
- Bradstreet, “To My Dear and Loving Husband”
- Brooks, “We Real Cool”
- Browning, “How Do I Love Thee”
- Burns, “Oh, My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose”
- Cummings, “Buffalo Bill”
- Cummings, “Next to of Course God America I”
- Dickinson, “After Great Pain, a Formal Feeling Comes”
- Dickinson, “Because I Could Not Stop for Death”
- Dickinson, “I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died”
- Dickinson, “This is My Letter to the World”
- Dunbar, “We Wear the Mask”
- Espada, “My Father as a Guitar”
- Frost, “Design”
- Frost, “Mending Wall”
- Frost, “Nothing Gold Can Stay”
- Frost, “The Road Not Taken”
- Heaney, “Digging”
- Heaney, “Mid-Term Break”
- Herrick, “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time”
- Hughes, “Theme for English B”
- Jarrell, “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner”
- Karr, “A Blessing from My Sixteen Years’ Son”
- Komunyakaa, “Facing It
- MacLeish, “Ars Poetica”
- Marlowe, “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love”
- McKay, “The White City”
If you wish, you may base your paper on the analysis you began in this week’s discussion.
Tips for the Essay
- Open your introduction with an engaging opener, such as a question, quote from the poem, or interesting idea. Then, connect to the poem and mention the title and the author. End your introduction with a thesis statement that interprets one literary element of the poem (such as theme, imagery, symbolism, or characterization).
- The body paragraphs should support your thesis. Present specific aspects of the poem that help to illustrate your points. Make sure to quote from the poem and analyze specific lines that support your argument. Typically, body paragraphs will contain at least two short quotations each as supporting evidence.
- Include a strong concluding paragraph that summarizes your main points and explains the significance of the thesis. Finish this paragraph with a strong and satisfying ending.
Use APA style for formatting the essay and for source citations. Begin with a title page. Include a running header, and use proper font and spacing. End with a separate references page. Refer to the Week 1 lecture on avoiding plagiarism for an APA essay template and additional resources.
Important Note: Do not do any outside research for this essay. This analysis should be your own insights regarding the poem. If you need help, refer to the sample student paper shared in the lecture on themes, and contact your instructor with questions.