How To Study And Critique A Poem

2670 words - 11 pages

How to critique PoetryWhen studying or critiquing a poem, there are many aspects to consider. A poem is an essence of expression whereby figurative and rhetorical devices, rhythm and sound are often key elements. There is usually a theme or an idea in mind...friendship for example. Such a wide theme brings with it many aspects such as jealousy, betrayal or inspiration. With these certain aspects in mind, the poet chooses the appropriate words for which to express such thoughts, depending on such qualities as denotation, connotation and their power to conjure certain images.1. A word that DENOTES is a word that gives the clear and actual meaning of something. CONNOTES implies a certain value ...view middle of the document...

Metaphors however usually involve two things from two very different backgrounds/context. A symbol usually has a close connection with it's implied meaning on various levels (ie visual, emotional). Symbols are often floated around faithfully through the years and therefore quite obvious when in use, though private symbols do also abound. The "cross" in Christian terminology represents a plethora of meaning including love and self-sacrifice.6. When an object is given the attributes of a human being, that is when it is given a personality of its own, one is using PERSONIFICATION. For example, one could say of a car, "she roared fiercely down the highway."RHETORICAL DEVICES :7. A phrase that contains two opposing words which seem self contradictory in meaning is an OXYMORON. egs. A "round square" or a "weak Hercules".A PARADOX is similar. It is a self contradictory statement which sometimes has an explanation for its contradiction. eg. "A square that has been rounded" may have occurred due to some great physical force. "One of the coldest days in summer" could imply one of a person's saddest days that happen to occur during summer.8. An exaggerated statement such as "his stare could stop the world from turning" is a HYPERBOLE. It is used often to enlarge on a fact or an emotion. The opposite of that would be an UNDERSTATEMENT. Such a statement implies that any expression of a fact would be too inadequate, hence, "the hurricane merely took my home and business away, but that is all." "Merely took" is a sarcastic way of expressing one's loss; yet it carries with it a sad tone of surrender.9. There are two categories of IRONY. SITUATIONAL IRONY occurs when something that goes in contrast to all circumstances and that is either not expected or desiredhappens. For example, when a soldier survives a devastating war only to return home and die from choking over a chicken bone. Someone who uses VERBAL IRONY is actually using the opposite of a truth. For example, when a tired man exclaims, "Boy, I can climb up and down Mount Everest right now!" We often use such irony when we are sarcastic in speech. For example if we tell someone who isn't quite intelligent, "You can pass any examination with flying colours!"In both cases (ie. situational and verbal) , to appreciate its full meaning, one must know the context, the plight of the speaker/protagonist. In the latter case, we sometimes have to take note of who is the receiver of that verbal irony.SOUND VALUES AND FORM (VERSIFICATION) :In poetry, one does not only choose words for their meaning. The sounds of wordsalso play an important part in both the emotional and intellectual unity of the work.SOUND EFFECTS in poetry quite often involve the repetition of similar or exactsounding syllables.10 . The most common sound effect is that produced by RHYME. This is when two words in a line, phrase or poem sound alike at the end of their syllables. For example, love anddove, or hate and mate. It is almost like two...

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