Rhyme Scheme

Choose any one of the poems you have discussed in class (i.e., assigned during this poetry unit). Then, write on this topic:

How does the poem’s stylistic choices (rhyme scheme, figurative language, literary devices) contribute the overall structure, meaning, and impact of the poem?

Write an essay that describes how the poet’s style and use of literary devices affect the presentation and meaning of the poem and addresses the question. Support your discussion with evidence from the text (direct quotes plus citations noting the line numbers).

Before you write:

  • Choose one poem to write about.
  • Make sure you have all of the notes you need.
  • Re-read the poem and write down additional comments.
  • Choose two literary devices you are going to discuss in your essay.

As you write:

  1. Your essay must have a central idea (stated in your thesis) that governs its development.
  2. Your essay must be organized so that every part contributes something to the reader’s understanding of the central idea.
  3. Assume that your reader is NOT familiar with the poet or poem.
  4. Tell your reader what the poem is about (not what happens, but what the happenings add up to).
  5. Write in third person!
  • Two-part statement that presents the topic of your essay
  • The thesis statement tells your reader what to expect. It is a restricted, precisely worded, declarative sentence that states the purpose of your essay (the point you are trying to make).
  • The thesis statement is usually located at the end of the introduction paragraph.

Basic Thesis Format

(Insert poet’s last name) uses _______and _______, (insert two different poetic devices) in (insert name of “poem”) to (illustrate, convey, reveal, or another verb) (insert the main idea or purpose of the poem).

Example Thesis Statement

William Cullen Bryant uses personification, colorful imagery, and metaphors in “Thanatopsis” to discuss how nature mitigates one’s fears about death.

Note: Use the poet’s full name in the introduction, and then use only the poet’s last name for the rest of the essay.


  • Use a topic sentence to begin your paragraph.
  • Chose ONE poetic device and discuss one or more example(s) from the poem.
  • Explain how the device signifies/expresses meaning.

Body Paragraph 1

  • Topic Sentence
  • First Example
  • Supporting Quote + Citation (line numbers)
  • Commentary/Connection

Body Paragraph 2

  • Topic Sentence
  • Second Example
  • Supporting Quote + Citation (line numbers)
  • Commentary/Connection


  • Reword the thesis statement as the first line, then summarize the body paragraphs’ main points. You may wish to end with a final note or general thought, but do not include new evidence or analysis of the poem.

MLA format: Use 8th ed. MLA formatting for the work cited page and the in-text citations. For poetry, rather than including the page number in the parenthetical citation, include the line numbers, such as:

“Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle’s compass come;” (9-10).

Also, use a slash mark (/) within your sentences to denote line breaks:

Shakespeare’s personified Love transcends the ravages of Time, which eventually harvests all lovers’ “rosy lips and cheeks / Within his bending sickle’s compass” (9-10).

poems:David Sedaris – “Jesus Shaves” ,Jhumpa Lahiri – “The Interpreter of Maladies” ,Edgar Allan Poe – “The Cask of Amontillado” ,John Updike—“A & P” ,Ernest Hemingway—“Hills Like White Elephants”,Margaret Atwood—“Lusus Naturae” ,A Doll’s House ,Because I Could Not Stop for Death” ,Because I Could Not Stop for Death you can choose any

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