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Poetry
and Lyrics as ArgumentInterpret
the poem or song lyrics and support your position using evidence from
the text.
Look
at condensed language and not only form an interpretation of the
words but also argue your position: That is the assignment when
writing an essay about poetry. As a reader, you examine and even
evaluate the work. As an essayist, you write about your understanding
of the piece. Choose a central idea such as figurative language,
theme, topic or even cultural relevance and use the poem/lyrics to
support your interpretation.
Essay
Structure:An
argumentative essay about poetry or lyrics carries the same structure
as most essays: introduction, body and conclusion. For the
introductory paragraph, use a strong quotation from the poem as the
hook, give some background and end the introduction with your thesis
statement: one sentence stating your interpretation of the poem. For
example, you might write, “Sylvia Plath’s exaggerated
comparisons in her poem ‘Daddy’ display her guilt over her father’s
death.” Use multiple claims to support your thesis statement,
each with a unique point: the sing-song rhyming, the narrator’s
identity crisis and her admission of a suicide attempt, for example.
End with a conclusion that mirrors the introduction, except instead
of a hook, relate your interpretation to concerns in the world
outside the poem.

You
May Wish to Consider:
LanguageSince
poetry and lyrics often time use so few words, each one counts. Poets
and songwriters commonly used figures of speech to enhance meaning.
Similes, with their telltale “like” or “as” in
the middle of comparisons, are easy to spot. However, look especially
for metaphors, the comparison of two things seemingly unalike; their
meaning often goes deeper than that of similes.

ArgumentWriting
an argumentative essay about poetry means taking an interpretive
position and supporting it with evidence. Use evidence from the poem
or lyrics and explain your interpretation of each quotation
explicitly. Quotations can be direct or indirect, or you may
summarize pieces of the poem. Relate all evidence and explanations to
your central idea. It may also be useful to consider the historical,
political or social context of the poem if it bolsters your claim.
For example, when writing about Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum
Est,” it is important to note that the poem is from the World
War I era, as the imagery relates directly to tactics used in that
war.

Cultural
RelevanceConsider
the importance of the message to a particular community. Why is
this song/poem important? What does it say to the audience and for
the audience?

Assignment
Details:Length:
350-500 wordsVisual
Element: It must be accompanied by a visual elementInclude
a copy of the poem/songMLA
format and work cited are not requiredDue
Date: See Canvas

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