Due Friday, September 17 in box to left of my office door, Tompkins 270, by or before NOON (12pm).
Length: 4 full pages, double-spaced typed/printed text. Standard margins (top & bottom 1" margins; right and left 1.25" margins).
your name, date, and class info, please make the first page of your
paper an accurate copy of the of lines from the poem or prose passage
you have chosen.
The lines or paragraphs may be either retyped by you or
copied/cut/pasted or xeroxed
from any valid version of the poem. This is not counted as part of the
4-page required length of your esssay about the lines.
If you choose lines
or sentences we've disussed directly in class you will need to offer
some original contribution to interpreting them.
If you have any other format questions, ask me:
Choose any of the poems from the start of the syllabus through Sept. 15. Select no more than one stanza or verse paragraph whose lines you judge most essential to understanding and appreciating the whole poem, and do a close reading of those selected lines. Consider the nuances of language, prosody, allusions, metaphors, metre, rhyme, anything that you feel is most relevant to discuss and necessary to interpret to read your chosen lines in relation to the whole poem well.
This assignment calls upon you to practice your
in close-reading, .You do not need to consult any text beyond your
chosen paragraph or part
of a poem. You will no doubt make sense of the selection you choose in
relation to the whole work from which it comes, but stay as focused as
possible on the details of language within,
not beyond, your chosen
selection. Even though close-reading
skills are sometimes associated with New Critical attitudes, you are
obliged to find some ideal of harmony or unity between your passage as
microcosm and the whole text, or author’s oeuvre, as macrocosm. You may
wish to work out a passage that instead reveals some interesting
of structure, complication of apparent theme or moral, or contradiction
between apparent authorial intent and textual meaning as you understand
it. Pay particular attention to the
sentence-level details and verbal nuance whether you are analyzing
poetry or prose.
Choice of passage and issue is completely up to
but it needs to be small enough and significant enough to warrant 4
of discussion. If you pick a passage
or poem that we have discussed in some detail in class you are obliged
to try to bring out something personal and original in your reading.
Choose a brief passage, no longer than one paragraph, that best captures any most interesting idea or problem you see in the work of prose (through Sept. 15).
Consider the language of your chosen passage in as much detail as possible, and then write a brief essay explaining what problem or issue is at stake, and how the particular details of language in the passage work to make the passage significant and noteworthy. This will help you to learn to read prose with the close-reading care (and slow pace) sometimes relegated to studies of lyric poetry. Pay particular attention to the sentence-level details of image, tone, syntax, diction etc.as well as point of view. Focus on what is actually in the passage itself, especially what is most interesting in it and what most benefits from being explained and interpreted..
Feel free to discuss your developing ideas with me.
Return to English 462 Syllabus