A poem analysis essay reviews various aspects of literary work and presents a clear analysis. It is a complex piece of writing that requires certain skills.
From critical thinking to thorough analysis, one must master many facets to write such an essay. Below are tips, tricks, and examples that will help you write a good analysis essay on any poem.
Writing a Poetry Analysis Essay — Understanding the Basics
A poem analysis essay can be written in different ways. The writing strategy you choose can be based on preference or assignment instructions. Regardless of how you go about it, understanding the essence of the poem is necessary. It is the most important step that guarantees the relevance of your essay.
Your poem analysis essay does not have to conform to anyone’s expectations as far as the main argument is concerned. While you may have to follow instructions on structure and formatting, the essay thesis is entirely up to you. Because there is so much room for creativity, it is easy to get overwhelmed.
Before you start writing the analysis essay, know that there are 3 important aspects to consider. Regardless of the topic, length, and structure of the poem you are analyzing, these aspects matter the most.
The Message of the Poem
What is the poet saying?
To understand the main subject of a composition, look at the context. Read in between the lines to get the intended message. Bear in mind that a poem can have more than one theme. Usually, it takes several tries to get an in-depth understanding of the message.
Use of Literary Devices
A poetry analysis essay outline is not complete without a review of literary devices. These devices are what differentiates a poem from an ordinary essay. In your analysis, be sure to point out the use of assonance, alliteration, similes, and so on. Understanding how the poet used literary devices gives your analysis essay depth.
The Form and Structure
Poets are allowed to use form and structure to pass their message across. Therefore, these 2 aspects form crucial components of your analysis essay. Read the poem aloud to get the rhythm because poetry is meant to be heard. In your analysis essay, dedicate a few paragraphs to explaining how the poet structured the composition.
Using a Poetry Analysis Worksheet — What You Need to Know
A poem analysis essay example helps you take a close look at the poem. It ensures that you gain a deep understanding of the poet’s message. It comprises a series of leading questions that require you to examine the poem closely.
If you need a poetry analysis essay outline, your best bet is to start with a worksheet. The latter helps to organize your thoughts. Based on the answers in your worksheet, you can create a solid outline for your essay. The outline should have 3 major sections explained below.
Introduce the poem and author in a simple way. Help your reader to familiarize themselves with your analysis essay by giving a brief background on the literature. At the end of the introduction, you should have a thesis statement. It is okay to adjust your thesis statement as you write.
The body of a poem analysis is quite diverse. It contains your opinion on the message, form, and structure of the poem. You can separate each point of analysis into its paragraph to avoid confusing the reader.
Usually, a conclusion sums up the main points of an essay. After you analyze the poem, bring the reader back to your thesis statement. The conclusion should be comprehensive without any new information.
Sample Analysis Worksheet — “The Tyger”
Before using a poetry analysis worksheet, you must read the poem to get the general gist. Next, use the worksheet to dig deeper and find the true meaning of the composition.
Below is a sample analysis worksheet with questions and answers based on “The Tyger” by William Blake.
- Poem Title: The Tyger
- Poet: William Blake
- This poem is written in the 1st person point of view.
- Who is the speaker? The speaker is a man who wonders about the ferocity of the Tiger.
- What is the basic situation? The author wonders why a fearsome animal was created.
- Are there conflicts in the poem? What are they? The author is conflicted by the ferociousness of the Tiger versus the gentle meekness of the Lamb.
- What kind of imagery is in the poem? Give a few examples. Blake uses fiery imagery to paint a picture of how dangerous the Tiger is. He talks of a creature that is “burning bright” and refers to “the fire” in the Tiger’s eyes.
- Does the poem have a rhyme scheme? What is it? The poem is made up of four-line stanzas, each with two rhyming couplets. It has an AABB rhyme scheme.
- What are sound devices have been used by the poet? Give examples. The poet used assonance in several instances. For example, “Tyger, Tyger, burning bright.”
- What is the tone of the poem? The poem has a curious tone. The poet constantly questions the fierceness of the Tiger.
- What is the mood of the poem? The poet has a wondrous mood. He is amazed by the fiery creation and wonders who is responsible for it.
Identifying the Subject Matter for a Poetry Analysis Essay
Looking for poem analysis essay examples to help you identify the subject matter?
Start by identifying the main idea in the poem. Look out for words with similar meanings or that refer to a specific subject. Break down the poem into specific messages based on the stanzas. Bear in mind that one poem can have multiple subjects.
Writing a poetry analysis outline can help you focus on the subject. Although an outline is only a guide for your analysis essay, it gives a lot of clarity. You will notice the main points and write them down before deliberating to come up with a central theme.
“The Tyger” by William Blake — Sample Poem Analysis
A sample poetry analysis essay can help you figure out how to write your own. It is especially helpful if you do not know how to analyze different components of a poem. The example below is based on William Blake’s The Tyger.
The Tyger is one of William Blake’s most famous poems, often assumed to answer his earlier composition titled “The Lamb.” It was published in 1794. The main theme of the poem is the appreciation for God’s work.
In the first and last stanzas, Blake asks rhetorical questions regarding the origins of the Tiger. The second stanza is full of imagery to illustrate the wonder that is creation. The third and fourth stanzas are comparative: Blake likens God to a skilled blacksmith. The fifth stanza questions God’s abilities and displays how puzzling nature is.
The poem is about good versus evil and the wonders of nature. Blake uses visual imagery to show how wondrous God’s creation is. He is amazed by the difference between the fiery Tiger and the meek Lamb. By creating such contrasts, he accurately demonstrates God’s supremacy as the creator.
Choosing a Topic for your Poetry Analysis Essay
Having a sample poetry analysis essay is one thing, writing your own is another. Most students find it hard to choose an appropriate analysis essay topic.
Below are a few strategies that might help you come up with a great topic:
- Use the poem title as your topic essay;
- Choose one major theme and focus your essay on it;
- Consider your thesis statement and summarize it into a topic.
Getting inspiration from poem analysis essay examples is also a good idea. You will notice that most samples have a simple topic. Be careful not to have a topic that is too broad to cover within the length of your essay. At the same time, you should not restrict yourself so much that you do not have enough content.
For the poem analysis essay example of “The Tyger” by William Blake, there are many topic options. An appropriate topic can be “The Wonder of God’s Creation as Portrayed in The Tyger.” There are different ways to go about topic selection, so choose one that is easy for you.
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