I’m studying for my Literature class and don’t understand how to answer this. Can you help me study?


3.6 Discuss – Prepare for an Analysis Outline – Poem (Three pre-outlining paragraphs)

The purpose of this activity is to choose a poem you will later create a full sentence Analysis Outline on (in the assignment after this one), to post evidence you find in the poem that supports an argumentative thesis about a theme in this assignment, and to brainstorm about your poem with your peers on the discussion board for this assignment.

Review the definition and example of an Analysis Essay in Unit 2 as well as the New Critical literary elements such as repetition, metaphor, alliteration, imagery, etc. in order to be sure that you have the tools for this analysis (and later, the outline) at your disposal.

You will also use this poem for the outline in 3.7 Discuss – Analysis Outline – Poem

(Note: These are the same poems from which you chose three poems to discuss the connection between poem and title in 3.3. You can choose one of those three poems, or you may choose a different one from the list for this assignment.


1. Read these poems again and choose one to prepare an analysis essay about: (Note: You should have read all of these poems in order to respond helpfully to others who may choose them).

Acquainted with the Night” (Links to an external site.) by Robert Frost

Black Boys Play the Classics (Links to an external site.)” by Toi Derricotte

somewhere I have travelled, gladly beyond (Links to an external site.) ” by E.E. Cummings

Wild Nights—Wild Nights (Links to an external site.)!” by Emily Dickinson

My Son the Man (Links to an external site.)” by Sharon Olds

My Husband’s Back (Links to an external site.)” by Susan Minot

Legal Alien (Links to an external site.)” by Pat Mora

On Death, without Exaggeration (Links to an external site.)” by Wislawa Szymborska

On the Pulse of Morning (Links to an external site.)” by Maya Angelou

Let America Be America Again (Links to an external site.)” by Langston Hughes

All Along the Watchtower (Links to an external site.)” by Bob Dylan

Litany (Links to an external site.)

Again, you are welcome, even encouraged, to explore your poem’s background and meaning through research. Some of the poems are explicated (analyzed and developed in detail) on sites such as shmoop.com. Reminder: Any outside sources used need to be cited using MLA 8 format in-text and in Works Cited. See Assignment 1.4 to access MLA format resources.

Please remember also:

  • Unique interpretations with strong evidence and explanations are also welcome, and
  • In your full sentence essay outline (you will not write the actual essay) for the assignment after this one, you must state an argumentative thesis based on poetic/literary elements and not just a series of ideas or facts about the poem.

2. Write three “pre-outlining” paragraphs about the poem you have chosen. Begin each paragraph with a main idea/topic sentence, and use transitions between points so that your reader can easily follow your logic.

1) A brainstorming paragraph that answers these questions:

    • Why were you drawn to this poem? What did you like about it?
    • What thesis about a theme do you see for an essay about this poem? Remember that your thesis is grounded in your claim about the literary/poetic elements that support one possible theme in your poem. A theme, for our purposes, is not a topic or subject or plot or tone of a poem. A theme is an overall message conveyed or implied by the poem, usually stated as an observation or recommendation for readers. You may have more than one idea about a thesis on a theme. Review what a theme and a thesis are in Unit 2.

2) An evidence paragraph that includes the following:

3) A conferencing paragraph in which you ask at least two questions about your ideas and fully explain why you have these questions. Any aspects of the poem (lines not understood, etc.) or essay writing (theme, thesis, structure, etc.) are appropriate.

3. Post your three pre-outlining paragraphs

NOTE: that in the model analysis essay on “My Papa’s Waltz,” the thesis states that specific poetic elements show “the waltz” to be a dark event, thus supporting a theme that sometimes there are signs of trouble in a relationship in what might otherwise be considered a very enjoyable, lighthearted activity such as a waltz.

3.7 Discuss – Analysis Outline – Poem (intro and conclusion paragraphs + topic sentences for bodies)

The purpose of this activity is to create a sentence outline for an analysis essay on the poem you chose in 3.6 Discuss – Prepare for an Analysis Outline – Poem.


  • Read in this link about creating outlines:
  • Compose a “complete sentence” outline that includes:
    • A title that is engaging, interesting, and relates to the argument you will be making.
    • An introduction that is fully written out and has an underlined argumentative thesis at the end. This thesis should identify the specific poetic elements (such as imagery, metaphor, symbolism, personification, rhyme, or repetition) that support a claim (which may be connected to a theme) in your poem. The following video link provides excellent guidelines for an Introduction to an Analysis Essay (Links to an external site.)
    • At least three body paragraphs, each with a main idea sentence/topic sentence about a poetic element and supporting evidence listed (all stated in complete sentences).
    • A format that follows this example of a thesis statement and topic sentences based on a poem that is not on our list: “Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost:
      • Thesis: Robert Frost uses imagery, opposition, and rhyme in his poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay” to show how transient life is in our world.
      • Topic sentence for Body Paragraph 1: Frost uses imagery of nature to show that as much as we might want it to, nothing alive stays the same.
        • Evidence of images from the poem that illustrate nature changing.
        • Full sentences should be used as should quotations with appropriate MLA 8 in text citations.
      • Topic sentence for Body Paragraph 2: Frost uses opposition to show that nothing lasts forever.
        • Evidence from the poem that opposes one form of nature to what it changes into.
        • Full sentences should be used as should quotations with appropriate MLA 8 in text citations.
      • Topic sentence for Body Paragraph 3: Frost uses rhyme to mimic the way life flows, showing that nothing stays the same.
        • Evidence as above, with explanation of the connection to the thesis.
        • Full sentences should be used as should quotations with appropriate MLA 8 in text citations.
    • A conclusion fully written out that restates the thesis in a new way and repeats the main ideas that supported it.
    • MLA 8 in-text citations for the poem and all other sources relied upon for ideas or words (except for common knowledge). See Assignment 1.4 in Unit 1.
    • MLA 8 Works Cited entries for the poem and all other sources relied upon.