In order to write effectively about poetry, one needs a clear idea of what the point of writing about poetry is. When you are assigned an analytical essay about a poem in an English class, the goal of the assignment is usually to argue a specific thesis about the poem, using your analysis of specific elements in the poem and how those elements relate to each other to support your thesis.
Writing about poetry can be one of the most demanding tasks that many students face in a literature class. Poetry, by its very nature, makes demands on a writer who attempts to analyze it that other forms of literature do not. So how can you write a clear, confident, well-supported essay about poetry? This handout offers answers to some common questions about writing about poetry.
The quotations are used in accordance with the writer's purpose, i.e. to show how the development of Mrs. Ramsey's feelings indicates something about her personality.
Jo on working with Steve Kloves
Jo has written a piece for the Writer's Guild of America, West magazine Written By where she writes about collaborating with Steve Kloves as he worked on the screen play for the Harry Potter movies, including their first meeting where he revealed his favourite character is Hermione, and how much he understood the characters in their subsequent email discussions over the years. The full article can be read in the .
Says: This introduction is indeed compelling, but it raises important questions about appropriate content. Be careful to avoid writing a personal essay that is far too personal. You do not want your reader to think that you might have character weaknesses that prevent you from handling stressful situations well.
There are some mistakes that are common. People write "cite" instead of "site", or spell "hummus" when they mean "humus". These are the kind of errors that are easy to miss, even when reviewing your paper multiple times. Often students are reminded that they should go the extra mile with grammar and spelling, but putting that advice to practice is difficult. Reading sample college admission essays provide an opportunity to observe not only which errors might be most common (and thus, things to look out for), but also to appreciate the importance of good grammar and provide enough willpower for yet another read-through.
Scout's first grade teacher makes her feel bad about being able to read, when she should feel proud that she can read and write at such a young age. Scout even apologizes and referred to her ability as a crime. This exchange demonstrates how many people in Maycomb are very small minded in their views.
Reading sample college application essays are also an excellent way to understand the structure of an admission essay. Many essays written in college prep classes emphasize scholarly format in writing, which avoids pronouns, personal experience, and is structured along a quote-commentary-commentary format. This structure is not applicable to a college admission essay, which is based on just the opposite (personal experience being the crux). Well-done samples provide an education in format. It becomes easier to properly arrange your own argument after getting an approximation about how other people are talking about themselves.
So why would your teacher give you such an assignment? What are the benefits of learning to write analytic essays about poetry? Several important reasons suggest themselves:
Sample college admission essays give applicants a chance to figure what to write and what to avoid. For example, a student may wish to write about a particular hardship in life which he or she has overcome. If the hardship is truly a unique test of spirit, it will reflect well in the paper; if it's a lackluster and common event (like breaking a leg during a ski trip) it may actually hurt the applicant. It's hard to see the line when you're only looking at your own idea. Reading sample admission essays give students a chance to image themselves as the judges of others' essays and ask questions like: does this sound persuasive and does it stand out above the crowd?
Most importantly, you should realize that a paper that you write about a poem or poems is an argument. Make sure that you have something specific that you want to say about the poem that you are discussing. This specific argument that you want to make about the poem will be your thesis. You will support this thesis by drawing examples and evidence from the poem itself. In order to make a credible argument about the poem, you will want to analyze how the poem works—what genre the poem fits into, what its themes are, and what poetic techniques and figures of speech are used.
Says: With one word, this introduction takes an essay question about the person who has most influenced you and turns it back around to the admissions board. In effect, you are telling them that you have thought about their question thoroughly. You have thought about it for so long that you have a couple of questions of your own - questions that have sparked an interesting commentary.
Quotation Introduction: Many writers are tempted to start their essay with a quote. You should try to resist this temptation, as most quotes will look forced. Admissions officers will be turned off if it is apparent that you searched through a book of famous quotes and came up with a quote from some famous philosopher about whom you know nothing. The quotation introduction is most effective when the quote you choose is unusual, funny, or obscure, not too long, and from those to whom you are closest. Choose a quote with a meaning you plan to reveal to the reader as the essay progresses. The admissions committee is interested in how you respond to the quote and what that response says about you.