The Key Factors in Successfully Interpreting a Poem

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

One of the main topics used for the writing assignments for English literature students is that of poetry. Since there are so many aspects related to poetry that a literature student is expected to know thoroughly, the assignments come in various forms and with different kinds of topics. One of them would be that of interpreting a poem.

Before setting off with the task, you need to understand a few basic things about poetry. What is poetry? What makes it different from other forms of literature? What distinguishes it from prose or drama? Knowing these basic facts about poetry is absolutely necessary to being able to enjoy it or interpret it. If you are pursuing English literature as your main subject, then you will have to learn much more than the basics of poetry, in order to successfully complete your course.

When you are assigned the task of interpreting a poem, there are a lot of things you should be careful about while going through the guidelines. When it comes to an assignment on a poem, even the guidelines can be a bit tricky and confusing. There are a few points which you can check. Do the guidelines ask you to:

• Interpret the complete poem or a particular stanza, or yet, just a single line from a poem?
• Give your own interpretation or the interpretation from the poet’s view?
• Give more than one interpretation of a stanza or a line?
• Find a totally new angle to it and apply it logically to the poem?
• Discover a story hidden in the lines?
• Find and interpret the ironical or sarcastic usages in the poem?

Understanding the question is vital to writing an impressive essay. Check whether the poem which you are supposed to write on:

• Has a metrical structure.
• Has a rhyme scheme.
• Has any of the techniques like irony or pun used in it.
• Has a story as the theme or is it an object that set off the poet’s imagination.
• Belongs to a particular style of poetry. Example: Ballad, sonnet etc.
• Is one that belongs to a different century or is contemporary

Knowing these facts about the poem will be of great help to you while trying to interpret the poem. You should always keep a dictionary next to you while reading the poem for this purpose. An assignment of this nature will require you to understand all the possible things a word can stand for. Thesaurus will be a very good option as it lists out all the possible meanings of words. If you don’t have the book, you can access Thesaurus online.

If you are not satisfied with the way your essay is turning out, there is no need to despair. Learning is a rather slow process and assignments are meant to teach you as you write them. The first one will, apparently, not be the best one in this case. If you are not confident about your interpretational skills and wish to get professional assistance for completing your assignment of interpreting a poem, you may use the expertise of our writers.

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