Analysis (1) Connotation: What are the implications in comparing the soul to a spider? How are the activities of the spider similar to and different from those of the soul? The effects of the speaker’s apostrophizing (頓呼) the soul ("O my soul")?
Analysis (2) Poetic Language: The sound and line patterns? The form of free verse.
Analysis (3) If you want to compare yourself, or your mind, to an animal, which would you choose and why?
A printer, teacher, journalist poet hospital worker, government clerk, later fired because of his poetry.
Publishes Leaves of Grass in 1855, later revised 8 times.
A free thinker, sometimes without regular jobs. (source)
Aunt Jennifer‘s tigers prance across a screen, Bright topaz (黃水晶) denizens of a world of green. They do not fear the men beneath the tree; They pace in sleek chivalric certainty. Aunt Jennifer's finger fluttering through her wool Find even the ivory needle hard to pull. The massive weight of Uncle's wedding band Sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer's hand. When Aunt is dead, her terrified hands will lie Still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by. The tigers in the panel that she made Will go on prancing, proud and unafraid.
Alliteration, ‘p’ sound
Aunt Jennifer's Tigers
Analysis (1) Connotation: The relations between Aunt Jennifer, her fingers, wedding ring and her tigers– with pace "in sleek chivalric certainty.“
Analysis (2) Poetic Language: the use of tiger and wedding ring as symbols.
Analysis (3) How much can the embroidered tigers represent aunt Jennifer? Do you have relatives like her?
Analysis (1) Connotation: What’s the mother’s long-term influence on the daughter and her responses to it?
Analysis (2) Poetic Language: How do the poetic form and the images convey the meanings?
Analysis (3) How do you feel about your parents’ ways of disciplining or educating you?
Understanding Poetic Language
Quiz 1: Sound and Sense
1. Which of the following is NOT a free verse?
1. Aunt Jennifer's finger fluttering through her wool Find even the ivory needle hard to pull.
2. It launch'd forth filament, filament, filament, out of it self,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them
3. No, not that way she'd
say when I was 7, pulling
the bottom sheet smooth.
You've got to, saying
4. I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Then there's a pair of us!
Don't tell! they'd banish us—you know!
A poetic form that does not rhyme, nor use the metrical patterns of traditional poetry. Rather, it establishes its own patterns.
It is unrhymed, with no regular line length.
It has rhythmical lines varying in length.
Its patterns produced through repetition of words, sounds and/or parallel grammatical structure.
2. Which of the following is an adequate description of the poem’s sound effects?
The explosive sounds in “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers” create a sense of hardship. (“Aunt Jennifer's tigers prance across a screen, Aunt Jennifer's tigers prance across a screen”)
The long and open vowels in “A Noiseless Patient Spider” (“Till the bridge you will need be formed, till the ductile anchor hold,/Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere ”) produces a sense of continuity.
The dashes in “I’m Nobody. Who are you?” (e.g. “Are you – Nobody – too? ”) create a sense of continuity and calmness.
Sound & Sense
Different sounds create different effects in different contexts. In general
easily pronounced consonants (e.g. [l], [r], [m], [n]) and open and long vowels can be create a sense of ease or fluidity
Explosive sounds ([t], [d], [g], [k],[p] [b]), sometimes combined with short vowels, can create a sense of vitality or difficulty.
nasal sounds ([m] & [n]) can create a sense of melancholy
3. Which of the following is NOT part of the functions of an apostrophe (頓呼; “O my soul”)?
To compare the object to another object
To personify the object addressed
To bring it (the absent object) to presence
To show respect to the object.
-- figure of speech in which an absent person, a personified inanimate being, or an abstraction is addressed as though present;
-- the poet talks to (and personifies) the one addressed.
4. Which of the following is not part of the poetic sound pattern to consider?
Repetition of consonants (consonance) or assonants (assonants)
Rhyme: alliteration, end rhyme and internal rhyme
Stresses put on different syllables (e.g. iambic)
The pauses in the poetic lines.
All of the above.
Rhyme & Rhythm
Rhyme is a sound device that usually entails the repetition of the final vowel and consonant sounds in two words.
internal rhyme: Some poems have rhymes within the lines. This is called.
Assonance is the repetition of vowels sounds, either at the beginning of words or within words.
Head rhyme: Alliteration is related to assonance in that alliteration also involves the repetition of sounds, this time the repetition of consonantsat the beginning or middle of words.
Meter (韻律): a regularly repeating rhythm, divided for convenience into feet (音步). Meter describes an underlying framework; actual poems rarely sustain the perfect regularity that the meter would imply.
(e.g. iambic pentameter 抑揚五音步 reference)
5. Which of the following descriptions of the speakers in the poems we have read is INCORRECT?
The speaker of “Those Winter Sundays” describes his childhood in retrospect.
The speakers of “We Real Cool” boast about their identity.
The speaker of “I’m Nobody. Who are you?” is snobbish.
The speaker of “A Noiseless Patient Spider” cherishes his/her own mental actions.
The most personal of poetic forms, lyric is usually a short but intense expression of personal feelings.
Although it is originally sung to the music of a lyre, not all lyrics are to be sung. Still, musical quality can be found in some of the poems we have read (e.g. “A Noiseless Patient Spider”).
Although it involves personal expressions, the speaker of a lyric is not necessarily the poet.
So far we have read several texts where parent-children relationships or family background is a major factor in a child’s growth (i.e. “Araby,” Pygmalion, “Those Winter Sundays,” “My Mother and the Bed” and “Musical Key”).
How do the children in the short story, play, poems and song relate to their parents’ ways of educating or NOT educating them? (What do the parents do? How do the children take it and how do they express their understanding of their parents? Is there communication between/among them? Is their communication [or lack of it] related to their social background?) Do the children grow in the texts?
Compare Pygmalion with at least one of the other texts (either a story, a poem or the song).
Essay Question 2
2. Children or Young People’s Views of their Society and Identity:
In the texts narrated or spoken by a child or a teenager, how does their point of view influence their views of their society/world and their sense of identity? In what ways are they biased? Do they learn to change or correct their views in the text? Please choose one story and one poem/song from the following: “A&P,” “Fast Cars,” “We Real Cool.”
Specify your topic if you are given a choice. Give a thesis statement as a direct answer to the question/topic.
Support your thesis statement by giving specific examples from the text and analyzing them.
In analyzing a short story, you don't need to summarize the plot, but you need to discuss how the theme (characters) you deal with develop in the different parts of the novel. In analyzing a poem, you don’t need to paraphrase it.
Conclude by summarizing your main points and discussing your thesis a bit more.
Questions—Personal Views, Sound and Line Pattern, connections between the poem and the poet.
Close Reading: Sound Effect, Sound Pattern, (consonance, assonance and alliteration) Line Length, Line End and Sentence End