Tuesday, April 30, 2013

In Class Essay #2

This was not my best essay. :/ At all.

In this poem "Thou Blind Man's Mark," the speaker has a distinct dislike for the feeling of desire in his mind. With poetic devices such as diction, tone, repetition (pleonasm/anaphora), and details, the speaker reveals his complex attitude towards desire.

"Thou Blind Man's Mark" has a very formal diction, yet a tone that is quite unsatisfied lies beneath it. Lines 1-4 describe desire in a very detailed way, and hints at what the speaker thinks of when it comes to desire. "Band of all evils, cradle of causeless care": there is no sense of kindness towards this feeling. Later on in the poem the speaker goes on to say how "in vain" desire made him do things that he did not wish to do. "In vain" and "too long" are examples of pleonasm, so as to emphasize how angered the speaker as at his weakness. It also emphasizes how much control desire tries to take of him.

With these clues revealed to us throughout the poem, we can understand how much that overwhelming feeling of desire that overcomes the speaker angers him as well.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Essay #2

In Macbeth, the protagonist Macbeth was prophesied to become king. After deciding that this shall only come true if he takes things into his own hands, he has to wrestle with the guilt and anxiety going on inside his head. Can he pull off this evil dead? Or does he let his guilt overcome him, and wait for a prophecy that might not come true otherwise?

The prophecy foretold by the three witches was an enticing one. Macbeth was told he was to be king, but was not told at what time it would happen. His thinking process moved towards killing King Duncan, and receiving the kingship right away. Once he had his wife, Lady Macbeth, involved, she pushed him even further into that direction. The path he was creating for himself was filled with glory as a ruler. But once he becomes king, he would have to eliminate competition like Banquo, who also received a prophecy that his sons would be kings. To keep in that path of being a king, he would have to kill Banquo, a close colleague.

Then there is the other side to this rise to power: the guilt and regret. Even before killing the king, Macbeth questions his decision to do it. He's not sure that he is able to accomplish such a feat. Later on in the story, Macbeth is not as restrained when it comes to killing Banquo, but his guilt manifests itself in another way. He sees the ghost of Banquo at dinner, while no one else can. Even though he is telling himself that what he's doing is justified, seeing things such as Banquo's ghost is telling him otherwise. He is trying to be pulled away from evil by his own guilt.

This conflict within Macbeth between good and evil helps portray Macbeth as a truly unique character. He is a protagonist consumed by evil, even after his guilt tries to dissuade him from that.

Passage Essay #1

In this passage from Cormac McCarthy's The Crossing, the main character goes through a dramatic experience of having to bury a wolf. With the use of his solemn and somber tone, his visuals created by imagery, and the syntax of the passage, we are able to see how much this experience affects the protagonist.

Imagery is the most powerful tool used in this passage. The narrator describes the settings with phrases such as "tall escarpments" and "dark shapes of the rimlands." He also describes his bloodied clothes, and the wolf that he carried. Accompanying the visual imagery is the imagery to create sounds. The howls and "yapping" of the coyotes are mentioned throughout the passage, as the main character can hear them all around him. The main character touches the wolf's body, closes it's eyes that "gave no light." All these images are created for the reader so as to understand how much of an impact this is to the main character. These descriptions and details are so articulate, trying to get the reader to see the whole picture in and out.

The syntax and mood of the passage also helps to convey the feelings going on inside the main character. There narrator uses polysyndeton to show all the things the main character does to take care of the wolf's body, who seems to be have some strong connection to the main character. He then goes on to reflect and ponder on what the wolf's life was like: "running in the mountains, running in the starlight where the grass was wet," with a "rich matrix of creatures." This brings the reader into the mind of the main character, and his sad thoughts, sad that the wolf lost its life when it enjoyed so much. It's letting the readers follow his thoughts just as he is making them.

With these literary techniques one feels the sadness and awe the main character feels. The wolf's death means so much to this character, and McCarthy's intent was to convey this meaning to the audience.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Poetry Essay #2

To Paint a Water Lily is a beautiful poem that describes a lily pond and it's surroundings in nature. The speaker, who is trying to paint a picture of a water lily by the title, observes the nature around him. With the use of imagery, structure, and even personification, he is able to portray this picture of nature to the reader.

The speaker initially is observing his main attraction, the lily, when a dragonfly comes into his sight. He admires it, how it eats and how it "stands in space to take aim." As the dragonfly flies away, the speaker seems to take notice of something else going on under the trees. He hears "battle-shouts and death cries everywhere." This use of imagery and personification of nature creates the image of an ongoing battle in nature, yet also how unnoticed it goes by the flies and the lily itself. In the speaker's eyes, there seems to be so much more in the surroundings of the lily, and the lily seems to be unaware of what is going on.

The structure of this poem also gives an insight on to how the speaker is thinking. The stanzas, all made up of  verses of two, seem to be the speaker gathering his thoughts slowly. It's as if he is slowly realizing the reality of what is going on in nature. But it must come to an end. As the poem is almost finished, he comes back to what he is doing, the mission he had in the first place: painting the lily. He focus on it, and even though the battle is inaudible, he is still aware of the presence of it surrounding him. 

The author is clearly intrigued and a bit in awe by the nature that he was surrounded by. His role as an artist is not only to take note of the lily, but the surrounding chaos as well. 

Poetry Essay #1

Helen of Troy, a woman whose beauty ultimately caused the Trojan War, is a figure many people know of. These two poems seem to take this single woman and change her into two by the very way they describe her. One poem is full of admiration for her, and the other despises the person she is. Diction, imagery, form, and tone help create a completely different picture of Helen of Troy in the eyes of the spearers.

In the poem To Helen by Edgar Allan Poe, it begins with such a love and admiration of her beauty, comparing her to the "Nicean barks of yore." Poe goes on to use more imagery to describe her beauty, such as "hyacinth hair" and "statue-like." The tone and form of the poem also convey his sense of admiration of Helen. The poem is written in the way a love letter is written to a loved one. His tone shows how in awe Poe is of Helen's beauty, how her beauty has brought him to her. Even the title itself "To Helen" shows how he's writing this poem not only about her, but to her, as he would want her to see how he thinks of her.

The other poem is completely different when it comes to Helen. Strictly titled Helen, this author speaks in a very solemn tone, with a slight hint of disgust and hate for her. The author uses imagery to describe the way she looks, with "still eyes in the white face," "the wan face when she smiles." This changes the description of Helen of Troy as to someone with a pale, sickly unattractive look about them. The author even goes on to explicitly saw how Greece hated this woman, is reviled by her, and would only love her if "she were laid, white ash amid funereal cypresses." The tone and imagery show how strongly Helen is disliked by not only by Greece, but by the author.

These two poems are examples of how literary elements such as tone and imagery can make such a difference. Helen of Troy, one woman, went from being a most beautiful woman who a man adored, to being a woman most hated by an entire country. A single person can be drastically changed by a few words, for words are more powerful than one thinks.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


As much as talking with others is supposed to help, it doesn't. I enjoy figuring the poems out on my own, and even though their grids helped explain their poems a bit better, I'm sure I didn't understand it on the same level as they did, since they spent more time reading it. But I did see some interesting types of poems, and some familiar ones as well from my group. We also agreed on how the poetry part will probably be the most difficult for all of us on the AP exam, but using the grids helped organize the poem into parts so we can understand it better.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


 Blackberrying by Sylvia Plath

TPCASTT:  Poem Analysis Method:  title, paraphrase, connotation, diction, attitude, tone, shift(s), title revisited and theme
Titleof poem means
 Blackberrying: the act of picking blackberries, as the speaker of Sylvia's poem is doing
Paraphraseparts of the Poem
 The first stanza the speaker (maybe Sylvia) is walking alone through blackberry fields, and she talks about the berries and how they look. The next stanza the speaker notices choughs that looks like bits of paper in the sky, and realizes she won't see the sea. She goes up to another blackberry bush and describes it. The last stanza she doesn't mention blackberries at all. She walks between two hills, calling them green and sweet. She turns and sees a huge orange rock, and hears metal clanging against metal.
Connotationof some of the words – changing literal meaning to implied or associated values
 Blackberry alley - a single path surrounded by blackberry fields on both sides; dumb as eyes - the color of the blackberries are dark?; blood sisterhood - could mean like blood brothers, where you cut your thumb and press it against another person's thumb, squeezing blackberries would show something like that; bits of burnt paper wheeling in the sky - the choughs? are being referred to as bits of paper fluttering in the sky
AttitudeWhat is the attitude of the author, characters or yourself?
 The attitude of the author is very solemn and observant. The author has a strong emotional tie to the blackberries at the beginning of the poem. But as it progresses, we don't see that attitude again. The rest of the poem seems to be more somber, and the blackberries aren't even mentioned in the last part. 
ShiftAt first we think or feel one way – then there is a shift:  identify the shifts and explain them
 The first shift happens between the first and second stanzas. The speaker ends the first stanza with "I had not asked for such a blood sisterhood; they must love me/They accommodate themselves to my milkbottle, flattening their sides." Very simple description of the blackberries. Then it shifts to "Overhead go the choughs in black, cacophonous flocks-/Bits of burnt paper wheeling in a blown sky/Theirs is only the voice protesting, protesting./I do not think the sea will appear at all." It is quite a change from the last two verses of the first stanza. 
Title revisitedAny new insights on meaning or significance of title?
There is some deeper meaning of the title. "Blackberrying" isn't really about the literal action that the speaker is doing. Blackberrying means something more. But I'm just not sure what.