Analysis of a Poem Assignment
ENG 250 – American Literature
Graded out of 50
Review the details for this paper assignment. Once you have completed the paper and saved as a Word
document, you must submit the paper to your instructor via Turnitin (see Analysis of a Poem –Submission in the Assignments for Week 6.)
For this assignment, choose one of the following American poets and one of their poems for study and
• Emily Dickinson (pp. 627-665)
• Robert Frost (pp. 666-699)
• Langston Hughes (pp. 700-735)
After reading the background information on your chosen poet, choose the poem you want to analyze
within the poet’s section in DiYanni and write a 2-3 page essay that answers ONE of the following
1. Discuss the values exemplified in the poem. Consider, that is, the cultural, moral, social, or ethical
norms that either appear explicitly in the poem or are implied by it. Identify those values, relate them
to your own, and comment on their significance. See Chapter 10 (pages 501-504) of Literature by
DiYanni for more information.
2. Analyze the elements (imagery, diction, symbolism, rhyme, etc.) of the poem. How do these poetic
elements create and convey the poem’s theme (or themes)? In other words, what is the point of the
poem, and how does the author utilize the various poetic elements to get his point across? Be specific.
See Chapter 12 of Literature by DiYanni for more information about the elements of poetry.
3. Consider the historical and social context of the poem. How did the poet work within and/or against
the prevailing social attitudes, moral beliefs, or cultural dispositions of his or her time? See Chapter
31 (pages 1565-1567) of Literature by DiYanni for more information.
See Chapters 10-13 of Literature by DiYanni for more information on reading and writing about poetry.
Write a structured, organized essay with a clear thesis statement; paragraphs with unity,
development, and coherence; an engaging introduction; and an effective conclusion that reiterates
your main points. In other words, write a strong, detailed essay about the poem you choose to discuss.
Revise and edit your paper thoroughly before turning it in.
Remember, also, to use quotes and otherwise reference your poem, and be sure to cite any outsidesources that you reference with both in-text citations and reference page citations. Failure to cite
properly is considered plagiarism, a serious academic offense with severe penalties (as discussed in the
© Hondros College
Hondros Catalog). Be sure to follow standard APA formatting, and remember the 2-3 page length
The rubric below details the breakdown of points for this assignment.
Analysis of a Poem Rubric Possible
Essay indicates a controlling idea: A clear thesis statement
indicates the essay’s argument, which answers the question about
the analyzed poem.
Essay develops a controlling idea: This thesis statement is
developed throughout the paper, without digressions, into a
thoughtful, careful, precise analysis. This includes specific, cited
quotations and paraphrases from the poem and any relevant outside
sources, as well as a discussion of critical theory, literary elements,
and/or biographical and historical information.
Essay develops a strong and logical structure: The essay as a
whole has a unified, coherent, and developed point of view, with a
thesis statement, introduction that contextualizes the discussion,
properly ordered body paragraphs, and a conclusion that ties
together the main points of the essay. Transitions connect sentences
and paragraphs throughout the essay.
Essay paragraphs are unified, coherent, and developed:
Paragraphs make one single, coherent point that fits within the
structure of the essay. Topic sentences and concluding sentences
are used appropriately.
Essay is edited and revised properly: The essay is written with
clear, interesting, sound sentences; appropriate tone; a lack of
grammatical, mechanical, typographical, and punctuation errors.
Essay meets APA formatting guidelines: The essay has an APAstyle
title page, uses Times New Roman 12 font, has appropriate
margins, offers a correctly formatted References Page and in-text
citations, and otherwise acceptably meets APA standards.
Essay meets length guidelines: The essay should be about 2-3
pages in length
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