You have utilized the methods of formalism, reader response theory, and an additional approach to analysis (psychological, Marxist, cultural) of your choice. Your overall goal, no matter the method, has been essentially the same: to locate a single, overall meaning that seemed prominent in the text and to then show your reader how you arrived that that conclusion (your thesis). For this essay, this same overall goal still holds. In analyzing a single poem of your choosing, you will, similarly, be making a claim about a meaning (theme) in the poem. However, this time, rather than focusing on just one main approach to analysis as you have been so far, you may now call upon any and all styles of analysis. For example, in a single line of the poem you have chosen to discuss, you may find yourself noticing that your own experience helps you to see a particular image as having a particular meaning (a reader response moment), and also, in that very same line, you may see how the poetic device of alliteration in a word in that line creates a particular emotional effect for readers that contributes to your sense of meaning (a formalist observation). And also in that very same line, you may feel that the meaning of that image presented could perhaps be interpreted differently depending on the reader’s cultural memberships (using a cultural approach to analysis). So, all of these various thoughts that you had regarding different aspects of this single line of poetry may each be used separately in different parts of your paper. Now, hopefully you can see how a one page poem can inspire a 6-to-8-page essay! More about where you would discuss of these very interesting observations about how meaning below in “Important Tips on Organizing.”……………….
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