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Introduction, Thesis, and Outline for a Poetry Analysis

Ruth Stone “Pokeberries” (1999) I started out in the Virginia mountainswith my grandma’s pansy bedand my Aunt Maud’s dandelion wine.We lived on greens and back-fat and biscuits.My Aunt Maud scrubbed right through the linoleum.My daddy was a Northerner who played drumsand chewed tobacco and gambled.He married my mama on the rebound.Who would want an ignorant hill girl with red hair?They took a Pullman up to Indianapolisand someone stole my daddy’s wallet.My whole life has been stained with pokeberries.No man seemed right for me. I was awkwarduntil I found a good wood-burning stove.There is no use asking what it means.

With my first piece of ready cash I bought my ownplace in Vermont; kerosene lamps, dirt road.I’m sticking here like a porcupine up a tree.Like the one our neighbor shot. Its bones and skinhung there for three years in the orchard.No amount of knowledge can shake my grandma out of me;or my Aunt Maud; or my mama, who didn’t just bite an applewith her big white teeth. She split it in two. You will closely read your chosen poem, considering its structural elements, patterns of figurative language, and other literary elements.  Bear in mind that, much as we discovered about ads in the advertisement analysis forum,

poems are carefully and purposefully crafted–consider that every choice in terms of structure, rhyme (or lack thereof), wording, and tone are deliberate and work to leave an intentional impression on the reader. Use the page Starting Your Poetry Analysis to help guide your consideration of how and why the elements of a poem come together to create effect and meaning. Carefully read the example pages that use Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” as an example for explication (Close Reading, Sample Analysis and Key Elements).

Use this page as a framework for creating an analytical outline. Your finished outline should look something like this. Include the following elements: First, an introductory paragraph that offers focused, key background information on the poem and what you are focusing on about it. At the end of the Introduction section, compose a well-crafted thesis statement: one or two sentences that explain what you want to say overall about the poem. Ideally, this thesis should focus on the “how” and “why” of the effect of some of these choices.

 Consult this page about thesis statements. Next, include topic sentences that could be used for body paragraphs that focus on specific ideas and elements from the poem that provide evidence and support for your overall idea about the poem (thesis). Under these topic sentences, include relevant, brief quotations from the poem, indicating the line numbers in parentheses. Finally, include a brief conclusion that sums up what these ideas all add up to.