Day 7, Poem 7
Closely read a poem or short story from our list and posit an argument about the use of language to convey meaning.
In this essay you will closely read and interpret a short text in order to posit an argument about the use of language to convey meaning. Your goal is to persuade your readers that this text deserves their special attention. To this end, your thesis should be specific and offer a deeper meaning for the text as it is viewed through your particular perspective. Keep in mind that your assignment is to interpret the text for your readers—not to evaluate it. Because you are writing for other students of writing, your readers will need detailed examples and thorough explanations of the points you are making. These examples will come from direct textual support in the form of direct quotations, descriptive paraphrases, and brief critical summary (see Ch. 5 in SG).
WRITING THE ANALYSIS
When you analyze a text, you break the text down into its major parts. To make your own interpretation convincing, offer substantial direct evidence from the text and carefully lead readers through your lines of thought step by step. Chapter’s 2 & 6 in A Student’s Guide to First-Year Writing will be valuable resources as you complete this assignment. The most persuasive reason to study literature is to help us understand the world outside of ourselves and connect to it in a meaningful way. To develop your thesis, consider your initial reaction to the text. Perhaps you got angry at the characters or sympathized with them. Perhaps you felt the author was trying to communicate an important idea about society. Perhaps the text offers a new way to view yourself, your friends, or your surroundings—examine what you’ve learned through the comparison.
In your introduction, you should
- Hook your reader with an explanation of your response to the text and how that response provides insight.
- Briefly describe and summarize the text. Use less than a paragraph for this summary and focus on the details that are salient to your analysis. Keep in mind that we’ve all read this text. You don’t need to provide an exhaustive summary.
- End your introduction with your argument about how the use of language works to convey meaning within the text as a whole. This argument snapshot is your thesis statement and should provide your readers with a snapshot of your entire argument and clearly establish your claims about the text.
- Forecast your essay by briefly stating how you’ll prove your points (this is a sophisticated way to transition from your introduction to the body of your paper). For example: Through “The Cask of Amontillado,” Edgar Allan Poe argues that even a simple act of friendship can become dangerous if coupled with thirst for revenge. We see this through Montresor’s feelings of superiority and his refusal to compromise (in this example, the second sentence is the forecast).
This is where you will argue each of your individual thesis claims using PIIE(t) to construct your body paragraphs. Remember, each thesis claim must become the topic sentence of a body paragraph. The rest of the paragraph then supports that claim with direct textual evidence followed by your own analysis that carefully explains exactly how that evidence supports the claim. You will have at least one PIE body paragraph per thesis claim. Think of yourself as a literary detective; offer proof for your claims by making and analyzing inferences from the text. Continue your introductory forecasting by arguing each thesis claim in the order that you stated it in your introduction. In your body paragraphs, you should
- Clearly identify your observations and inferences (thesis claims) and thoroughly explain what you read that lead you to make that observation or inference.
- Remember, direct textual support for your claim is the evidence for your textual analysis.
- Provide your readers with a detailed explanation of exactly how your evidence supports each of your claims.
In your conclusion, you need to
- Restate your thesis in a new way (“In this analysis I considered…”). BE BRIEF. Remember you just went through all of this in the body of your paper. Your reader doesn’t need you to rehash of all of your points; just a reminder will suffice.
- Reflect a bit on what you have found. Your conclusion should explain to your readers why your argument is valid and worthy of attention. What insight does your analysis of this issue provide for your readers? Why should your readers care about this? Remember that the purpose of your analysis, like all literary analysis, is to help your reader notice and understand something about the text that she may not have noticed on first reading. What does your analysis offer other readers of the poem? Why should your readers care about this interpretive analysis?
Style and Formatting Guidelines
- The thesis should be a statement that applies to something specific in the text. You might think of the thesis as being an observation and inference. In constructing your thesis, try to propose something other readers missed either because they glossed over details or because your personal experiences have given you a unique perspective. Avoid boring generalizations (“love is bad” or “communication is important”). If you get stuck, try adding an “if” or “because” to your original statement.
- Always write about writing in the present tense: Shakespeare suggests that…. When Hamlet decides to . . . ., etc.
- Put quotations marks around the titles of poems. (Use italics for plays or other long texts such as films.)
- When using direct quotes from poems, include the line number: “…” (line 6).
- Don’t write “I think” or “I know” or information such as “When I read the story….” Such phrases are not necessary and make your essay less persuasive.
- Make full use of opportunities to workshop your draft in class by bringing new and improved versions to each peer review session. Keep track of your classmates’ most important comments; you’ll submit this information with your final essay.
- Increase your own critical skills by helping your classmates with their drafts.
- To avoid losing credit, compose your essay in STANDARD WRITTEN ENGLISH. If you’re concerned about your editing skills, stop by Think Tank before the essay is due, and review your essay with a tutor. Take the time to edit carefully, giving special attention to the items we reviewed in class.
An excellent project will meet the following criteria, showing that you can:
- Effectively use the source text to support and develop your own argument
- Use a successful combination of brief quotes, long quotes, and paraphrase
- Integrate citations ethically, clearly, and effectively
- Make a sincere effort to employ the MLA scholarly conventions for citing sources, including parenthetical citations and works cited page
- Organize development clearly
- Revise deeply as well as edit carefully
When I evaluate your textual analysis, I will review how well you have met the goals of the assignment. That is, I will look for a clearly stated, thesis driven, logical analysis of the source text. If your essay runs a bit long, that’s fine. However, if your essay is way too short, it simply won’t explain or analyze your points deeply enough to be effective, so it won’t earn a passing grade. Your essay will also need to meet the general criteria of good academic writing: a clear focus, logical and purposeful organization, strong use of supporting evidence, and thoughtful development of the ideas you present.
Day 7, Poem 7
The poem “Day 7, Poem 7” has an excellent approach towards issues that people, especially the black people, face in America. The poem begins by quoting some of the findings of the scientists on penguins. It continues by mentioning the main reason for the writing, which is “the all-black penguin speaks.” According to the poet, the talks about the all-black penguins are mistaken, and this inspired the mentioning of the facts about the all-black penguins. It is important to note that the poem is satirical in nature. As such, the words “all-black penguins” represent black people. The poet has a rich mastery of poetry skills that are evident in the piece. The various styles in the poem help in the delivery of the message to the target audience. The poet uses repetition, metaphor, tones, moods, sense, opening and closing lines that enhance the efficiency of the delivery of the main ideas of the poem.
The poem can be mistaken because of its style to be a piece that was written by an animal activist who wants to protect the penguins. The poet dislikes the views of the racists who claim that all-black penguins are unafraid and defy convention. Besides, the poet does not like it when the white people see the blacks as monsters because of the size of their feet. As a result, the activist wrote the poem to show how wrong the racists are by highlighting the facts that these people do not know about the black people. The poem was written after the publication of the article that showed that the black people are different from other people. As a result, the poet saw that there was an intense need to clarify and show how the views of the racists were wrong.
The poem has an interesting title, “Day 7, Poem 7”. From a simple point of view, it is evident that the writer aimed at rhyming the title with number seven. However, a critical analysis of the title displays a rather new perspective from a simple title to a meaningful title. The title is divided into two parts with the first part bringing out the sense of time while the second part seems to be identifying the piece from a collection. Therefore, the title implies that the poem is part of a series of poems that are written on a daily basis to cover the issues that the African Americans face. In this case, the piece was written on the seventh day after the first poem. Also, the poem is identified by the day of writing. In this case, the piece is poem 7 because it was written on the seventh day.
The mood of the poem is provocative because it uses a strong language that may easily annoy the readers. For instance, the author says, “Fuck your bell curve, albino motherfucker.” The two words, fuck, and motherfucker are usually associated with poor sexual morals. Such words may offend people, especially parents because they know the piece could easily fall into the hands of the children. Besides, these words may encourage poor moral values when some people start to use the words in their conversations. “Bitch” is the other explicit word utilized in the poem. It is used in slang to refer to a person that is believed to be unreasonable and annoying. Nevertheless, these words are usually associated to the black people. Therefore, the poem shows that the persona is an African American that is annoyed by the prejudice from the white people.
The poet has an aggressive tone that is dominant throughout the poem. The tone indicates several critical issues such as emotions, satisfaction, and beliefs. For instance, the persona believes he/she is beautiful by saying “I’m prettier than you.” The tone also shows dissatisfaction with the events and the environment. For instance, the tone from the lines containing the words “Penguins deliberately don’t read so we wouldn’t have to learn…” show a sign of dissatisfaction because of the circumstances that force the poet to learn certain words. The aggressive tone play a critical role in the poem because it indicates that poet is actively against the notion of the white people about the black people. For instance, Afircan Americans are viewed as monsters. However, the poet contradicts the beliefs by the aggressive tone to show that racists are wrong. For example, the poet says, “I’m the same size as all the other penguins.” This is to tell the white people that the black people are not diffrnet from them in regards to size.
The poem repeats certain words several times. Repetitions are critical in poetry and other forms of literature because they assist in emphasizing the messages. In “Day 7, Poem 7”, the poet repeats “albino motherfucker” three times. The repetition shows how the racists who have negative views about the black people frustrate the poet. Besides, the words “evolve, evolve, evolve” are repeated several times in the poem to show that the poet cherishes the daily prayers that his/her members make. “Here” is the other word that is repeated several times in the poem. The repetition emphasizes and shows the importance of the location where the poet lives. In other words, he despises the suggestions that other places are better than the current area. The use of repetition throughout the poem is effective because it enhances the communication of the message.
The poem also uses sense effectively to deliver the various messages efficiently. Firstly, the sense of sight is evident when the poet says, “Penguins are color blind.” Here, the words show that the African Americans do not choose people through the perception of color. Another instance that shows perception through the eyes is the part that asks “Can’t you see it’s getting warmer?” Secondly, the sense of hearing is also evident in the poem. The poet claims that he/she will write a song for the racists. This part brings in hearing because songs can only be perceived through the ears. The use of the various senses is important in the poem because they enhance the understanding of the concept and the purpose of the different actions in the poem. For instance, the use of the hearing sense through the song shows how important it is to emphasize that the black people should be left alone and respected as well.
The poet uses metaphor effectively throughout the poem. From a pure perspective, it can be said that the poet is an animal activist that wants to protect them. The reason for this is that the poet introduces penguins and continues to speak for the penguins. However, a deeper analysis of the poem shows that the word penguin is used to represent the black people. The reason for this is that fact that the poet refers to the scientists as “albino.” The word albino is used to mean white people. Besides, when the poet says, “Penguins are color blind” he means that the black populations do not discriminate people basing on color. Moreover, the word “evolve” is used to show adaptation in which people can learn other peoples’ cultures and live alike. In this case, black people can learn the ways of the white people and live as they would live.
The opening and closing lines of the poems are critical because they show different stances. From a simple point of view, the poem begins with a fact from the recently documented study by scientists. They indicate that the poem aims at discussing matters as they are without hiding the truth. However, the poem continues with a different stance because it criticizes the views of the white people. On the other hand, the poem ends with a neutral position in which the poet shows that as much as the black people are disliked, the white people around them are also hated. This indicates that they are all equal.
The poem uses various styles including metaphor, repetition, sense,
tone, mood, and opening and closing lines to output the message is a manner
that the audience can identify with from the beginning to the end. The poet
uses an aggressive tone through the poem to show dissatisfaction, emotions and
justify beliefs. The mood of the poem is provocative and may be received by
people differently. It also repeats
certain words to ensure that the message is emphasized well to the audience.
The opening and closing lines are also used well in the poem because they show
the reason for writing as well as the stand of the poet. The poem is excellent
because it approaches the matter if interest in a way that the audience can
identify with thus making poetry necessary.
Bonair-Agard, Roger. “Day 7, Poem 7”. Alcspoetica.blogspot.com. N.p., 2010. Web. 30 Sept. 2016.