For this paper, you will be writing an explication of a poem 5 – 8 paragraphs. You may choose any of the poems we have read in this unit. A poetry explication is an explanation of what you believe the message of the poem is. Because you will be explaining your own personal interpretation of the poem, you will need to gather some evidence to support your ideas about the poem. The goal of an explication is to “illuminate” the meaning of the poem for other readers. First of all READ the poem. Read it several times. Read it aloud. Notice the way it looks on the page, the way the words sound when you read them aloud, and anything the words make you think about. You will probably have to look some words up in the dictionary—remember that the definition you know might not be the ONLY definition there is. Once you feel like you have formed some good initial ideas about the poem, you can begin to really examine the tools (literary devices) that the poet used to create the poem. Answer the following questions using your answers as a rough draft for your paper.
-What does the title contribute to the reader’s understanding?
-Who is speaking? What is the situation?
-What difficult, special, unusual words does the poem contain?
-What references need explaining?
-How does the poem develop? Personal statement or a story?
-What is the main idea of the poem?
-What kind of figurative language is the poem using? What about symbolism or literary allusions?
Poem chosen :
“Danny Deever by Rudyard Kipling
“What are the bugles blowin’ for?” said Files-on-Parade.1
“To turn you out, to turn you out,” the Color-Sergeant2 said.
“What makes you look so white, so white?” said Files-on-
“I’m dreadin’ what I’ve got to watch,” the Color-Sergeant said.
5 For they’re hangin’ Danny Deever, you can hear the Dead
The regiment’s in ’ollow square3 —they’re hangin’ him
They’ve taken of his buttons off an’ cut his stripes away,
An’ they’re hangin’ Danny Deever in the mornin’.
“What makes the rear-rank breathe so ’ard?” said Files-on-
10 “It’s bitter cold, it’s bitter cold,” the Color-Sergeant said.
“What makes that front-rank man fall down?” says Files-on-
“A touch o’ sun, a touch o’ sun,” the Color-Sergeant said.
They are hangin’ Danny Deever, they are marchin’ of ’im
They ’ave ’alted Danny Deever by ’is coffin on the ground;
15 An’ ’e’ll swing in ’arf a minute for a sneakin’ shootin’
O they’re hangin’ Danny Deever in the mornin’!
“’Is cot was right-’and cot to mine,” said Files-on-Parade.
“’E’s sleepin’ out an’ far tonight,” the Color-Sergeant said.
“I’ve drunk ’is beer a score o’ times,” said Files-on-Parade.
2 0 “’E’s drinkin’ bitter beer alone,” the Color-Sergeant said.
They are hangin’ Danny Deever, you must mark ’im to
For ’e shot a comrade sleepin’—you must look ’im in the face;
Nine ’undred of ’is county an’ the regiment’s disgrace,
While they’re hangin’ Danny Deever in the mornin’.
2 5 “What’s that so black agin the sun?” said Files-on-Parade.
“It’s Danny fightin’ ’ard for life,” the Color-Sergeant said.
“What’s that that whimpers over’ead?” said Files-on-Parade.
It’s Danny’s soul that’s passin’ now,” the Color-Sergeant said.
For they’re done with Danny Deever, you can ’ear the
3 0 The regiment’s in column, an’ they’re marchin’ us away;
Ho! the young recruits are shakin’, an’ they’ll want their
After hangin’ Danny Deever in the mornin’.
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