Type: Research paper

Subject: English 101

Topic: Poetry Research Essay

Style: MLA

Number of pages: 6 pages/double spaced (1650 words)

PowerPoint slides: 0

Additional: None

Number of source/references: 0

Order instructions:

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Topic: Explicate a poem of 10-20 lines from our textbook. This means that you will analyze it line by line. Choose one from the list of poems provided at the end of this document. Ask yourself the following questions prior to writing your essay: What is enjoyable about the poem? What is confusing? Are there any figures of speech? Is there any irony or imagery? Are any words central to the meaning of the poem or are there words that have more than one meaning? Do you know the definitions of these words? How many speakers are there? Is there a transition from one speaker to the next? What symbolism can you detect? You may also choose any of the poems from “Poems for Further Reading” (816-887) in the textbook that we have not yet covered and that are 10-20 lines. Refrain from choosing poems that have already been analyzed in course materials.




Format and MLA: Type the poem at the beginning of your essay (single-spaced; flush left) and use it as a guide. Use Modern Language Association (MLA) guidelines to format your essay and cite sources; your grade will reflect your knowledge of this material – be merciless in your attention to detail. You must include a works cited page. Tip: Read several poems by the same poet.




Research Components:





Investigate and include definitions of words in a poem by looking them up in a dictionary, such as Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary or the American Heritage Dictionary. The Oxford English Dictionary will help you with the etymology of a word: “The history of a linguistic form (as a word) shown by tracing its development since its earliest recorded occurrence in the language where it is found” (“Etymology”). All dictionaries are located on the second floor of the library in the reference section. You may NOT use pocket dictionaries or Dictionary.com as they are not extensive enough for this assignment. If you choose to use inappropriate resources, your grade will be reduced. You must include at least THREE definitions from the dictionary. Tip: Look up words you know as well.




Locate a biography of the author and examine how this information enhances your explication of the poem. When was the poem written? What was the poet doing at this time in his or her life? What are the cultural or historical implications of the time period? How does the biography provide additional insight into why and how the poem was written regarding the poet’s style? Choose a full-length critical biography from one of the literature-based databases, such as Literature Resource Center, MagillOn Literature Plus, or Artemis. If you choose to use inappropriate resources, your grade will be reduced. You must include at least TWO quotations from the poet’s biography. Tip: Read multiple biographies as each one will have different information.


  1. Academic article


Choose an academic article related to your poem in order to enhance your analysis. For example, you could locate an article from the Poetry for Students series in the Literature Resource Center database. The article must come from the library’s databases. See above.


The poem I chose is “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost. I have attached sources for the Academic Article and Biography requirement. See instructions above for the dictionary requirement. Also, I attached a sample essay.


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