response paper for poem, English homework help

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A response paper should do for your reader a number of things. It should offer an interpretation of the poem’s overall meaning; it should analyze the language and images; it should evaluate its effectiveness on you as reader; and it should make clear what I call the “human” element. This last element simply means what overall statement the poem is making about humans, or what it means to be human. One way of showing the human element is to show how the poem’s ideas apply to your life and experiences.


Write a response for the poems listed below. This essay is for a general academic audience.


4 pages (1000 words); MLA formatting

(see (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. for help.)


  • Do you use examples from the text to convincingly support the claims you’re making?
  • When quoting extensively, do you take time to explain the specific parts in the long quote that prove your point?
  • Have you managed to avoid simply offering a summary or reading of each separate line?
  • Do you refer to specific moments in the poem that clarify your idea/s for the reader, and have you offered line or stanza numbers?
  • Do you use the present tense when describing or discussing events in the poem? In literary criticism–which is what you’re writing–the convention is to use the present tense throughout. The idea is that the poet is communicating thoughts to you in the present–so that’s why the convention is to use the present tense.
  • Have you correctly spelled all author’s names and titles? Have you remembered to put the name of the poem in double-quotation marks? When referring to the author, have you written out his/her full name? HINT: When referring later on in the poem, only use the author’slast name . . .
  • Did you remember to put quotation marks at the beginning and end of each quoted part? Did you include the line number/s in parentheses after the quotation? Did you include the slant to indicate the beginning of a new line when you write the lines in sentences within your paragraph? ex: “I am sick, I must die./ Lord, have mercy on us” (6-7).


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