Choose one of the following essay prompts and write a critical literary analysis. Your choices include poems by Robert Frost, Seamus Heaney, Stevie Smith, Langston Hughes, Robert Hayden, Theodore Roethke, Ruth Whitman, and Sharon Olds.
1. Write an essay in which you explore the theme of tradition in Robert Frost’s poem, “Mending Wall,” or Seamus Heaney’s poem, “Digging.”
2. Write an essay in which you explore the theme of innocence and experience in Robert Hayden’s poem, “Those Winter Sundays.”
3. There is a lot of debate as to whether or not Theodore Roethke’s poem, “My Papa’s Waltz,” explores a theme of abuse. Decide for yourself whether the poem is/is not about abuse and write an essay to support your reading/interpretation. This essay should be developed as an argumentation/persuasion essay. Should you choose this essay prompt, there is an outline template for argumentation/persuasion on MOODLE
4. While there may not be blatant evidence of physical abuse in Ruth Whitman’s poem, “Listening to grownups quarrelling,” many read this poem as showing evidence of emotional or psychological abuse. Write an essay in which you explore this theme. Be sure to make your position clear. You should consider the author’s use of imagery.
5. Discuss the theme of regret as it is explored in Sharon Olds’ poem, “I Go Back to May, 1937.”
6. Discuss the theme of suicide as it is explored in Stevie Smith’s poem, “Not Waving, but Drowning.”
7. Discuss the theme of perseverance as it is explored in Langston Hughes’ poem, “Island.”
• Be sure that your essay has a clear introduction with a thesis statement.
• Be sure that your introduction clearly introduces the author, the genre and the title of the work
• Be sure your thesis is the last sentence in your introductory paragraph
• Be sure to indent each paragraph
• Be sure that your essay has clear and sufficient support for your thesis, particularly, that it cites from the text for support of your discussion.
• Be sure that you incorporate your support material correctly and effectively (see example below)
• Be sure that you use clear transitions between paragraphs.
• Be sure that you have a conclusion that adds a sense of unity to your essay.
• Be sure to include an outline and a cover page with your essay.
• Be sure that your name appears only on your cover page.
• Be sure that your essay is printed on one side of the paper only
• Be sure to include the essay prompt you are responding to on your cover page.
• Keep in mind that the author is not necessarily the speaker in the poem, so be sure to incorporate your cited material correctly and effectively, following MLA guidelines.
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