For this paper, you’ll discuss either Stephen Dunn’s “The Sacred” or WH Auden’s “The Unknown Citizen”—it’s up to you. Your goal is to write an explication of your chosen poem, followed by an interpretation of it. Some clarification:The explication should consist of the first two or three paragraphs. Remember that an explication goes through the poem from beginning to end, and analyzes how it works. Sometimes it tells the reader what the poem literally says, but only if necessary, as with the Shakespeare example from the lesson—you don’t want to frustrate your reader by doing this if the words are pretty self-evident, however. Beyond just summarizing the text, an explication also discusses how the poem creates imagery, meter, rhyme, repetition; in short, how he/she uses content and sound devices, and to what purpose. That is, don’t just point out that something rhymes, or that a particular style of word choice is used, tell us what the effect of this is on the reader.In the second part of the paper, again consisting of three or so paragraphs, you’ll write an interpretation. This doesn’t go through the poem from beginning to end, but basically gives an argument concerning how we should take the poem’s meaning—what it’s telling us about life, or love, or war, or society, or whatever. The interpretation isn’t just a meandering meditation, however—you should organize your thoughts and use quotation from the poem in order to really convince the reader that your way of looking at the poet’s intentions is really the right one.Finally: this paper is something of an exercise, designed to get you practicing explication and interpretation in advance of the Core Assessment project. Because of that, you do not need to write an introduction and a conclusion, the way you normally would with any essay. For this week, just start with the explication, and end with the interpretation.Response Paper GuidelinesThe essay falls within the 1000-1500 word range, and doesn’t use superfluous or “filler” words to achieve it.The essay presents a clear response to the prompt, and adequately and effectively supports its argument using clear logic, textual reference, and convincing rhetoric.For prompts that do not require an argument, the essay clearly achieves the stated goals and thoroughly responds to all aspects of the prompt.The essay indicates a high level of proofreading. It clearly, efficiently, and elegantly makes its points, and uses appropriate citation methods if necessary.
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