literary analysis

literary analysis…

Write a literary analysis of the themes in “If—” and in “Kipling and I”

5 body paragraph

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1. Analyze
2. Practice
3. Perform
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Terminology of Literary Analysis
Read each term and explanation. Then
look back at Jennifer Ricardo’s literary
analysis and find an example to complete the chart.
Term
Explanation
Example from Jennifer’s Essay
main idea
The
main idea
is an observation or
assertion about the poem or piece of
literature.
theme
The
theme
is the underlying message
about life or human nature that the
writer wants the reader to understand.
tone
The
tone
is the attitude the writer takes
toward a subject.
figurative
language
Figurative language
is language that
communicates meanings beyond the
literal meanings of words.
style
The
style
is the particular way in which a
work of literature is written—not
what
is
said but
how
it is said.
voice
The
voice
is a writer’s unique use of
language that allows a reader to “hear” a
human personality in the writer’s work.
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You will read:
A BIOGR APHY
Walt Whitman
A POEM
“The Artilleryman’s Vision”
A LET TER
Letter to His Mother
You will write:
A LITER ARY ANALYSIS
Compare and contrast Whitman’s
depictions of Civil War experiences
in “The Artilleryman’s Vision” and in
a letter to his mother.
How can real events inspire poetry?
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Practice the task
Unit 3: Literary Analysis
73
DO NOT EDIT–Changes must be made through “File info”
CorrectionKey=A
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Source Materials for Step 2
AS YOU READ
You will be writing a literary analysis that compares and contrasts
Whitman’s depictions of Civil War experiences in his poem “The Artilleryman’s
Vision” and in his “Letter to His Mother.” As you read about Whitman’s life and work,
underline and circle information that may be useful to you when you write your
essay.
Source 1: Biography
Walt Whitman
by Mark Botha
One of nine children, Walt Whitman (1819–1892) grew up in
Brooklyn, New York, and Long Island and experienced both the
community of country life and the urban bustle of a growing new
city. As a young man, he plied many trades, including printer,
teacher, and journalist. By the time he was twenty, his fascination
with the boomtown atmosphere of Brooklyn led him to journalism.
After ten years of reporting, he took a kind of working vacation—a
difficult overland journey to New Orleans. He put his journalistic
talent to work at the New Orleans
Crescent
while also observing
the alien culture of New Orleans and the brutal face of slavery that
existed there.
Returning to Brooklyn, Whitman served as editor of the
Brooklyn Freeman
while supplementing his income as a part-time
carpenter and contractor. All this while, he was keeping notebooks
and quietly putting together the sprawling collection of poems
that would transform his life and change the course of American
literature.
In 1855, Whitman self-published his groundbreaking
collection of poetry,
Leaves of Grass
. Its original style drew lifelong
admirers, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, and many critics, who
condemned it as “disreputable.”
Leaves of Grass
was expanded and
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1. Analyze
2. Practice
3. Perform
© Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
revised through many editions until the ninth “deathbed” edition
was published in 1892, thirty-seven years after its first appearance.
It is a spiritual autobiography that tells the story of an enchanted
observer who says how he is inspired at every opportunity.
When Whitman learned that his younger brother had been
wounded in Fredericksburg, Virginia, he immediately traveled to
the front. There he saw the aftermath of one of the war’s bloodiest
battles. This experience convinced him to work in Washington,
D.C. as a volunteer nurse. While caring for the wounded,
Whitman witnessed the effects of war on men’s bodies and minds.
During this time, he wrote numerous poems, including “The
Artilleryman’s Vision.” His years of nursing, he once wrote, were
“the greatest privilege and satisfaction . . . and, of course, the most
profound lesson of my life.”
Beset by ill-health, Whitman suffered a stroke in 1873.
However, his inf luence continued to grow as he released new
editions of
Leaves of Grass
. In the preface to one of these editions,
Whitman wrote: “The proof of a poet is that his country absorbs
him as affectionately as he has absorbed it.” He believed there was
a vital relationship between the poet and society. Whitman died on
March 26, 1892. His funeral drew thousands of mourners, and his
casket could not even be seen for the many wreaths of f lowers left
upon it.
Discuss and Decide
Why might Whitman have called his experiences nursing in the Civil War “the
most profound lesson” of his life? What do you think he learned?
Unit 3: Literary Analysis
75
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The Artilleryman’s Vision
by Walt Whitman
While my wife at my side lies slumbering, and the wars are over
long,
And my head on the pillow rests at home, and the vacant midnight
passes,
And through the stillness, through the dark, I hear, just hear, the
breath of my infant,
There in the room as I wake from sleep this vision presses upon me;
The engagement opens there and then in fantasy unreal,
The skirmishers begin, they crawl cautiously ahead, I hear the
irregular snap! snap!
I hear the sounds of the different missiles, the short
t-h-t! t-h-t!
of
the rifle balls,
I see the shells exploding leaving small white clouds, I hear the great
shells shrieking as they pass,
The grape like the hum and whirr of wind through the trees,
(tumultuous now the contest rages,)
All the scenes at the batteries rise in detail before me again,
The crashing and smoking, the pride of the men in their pieces,
The chief-gunner ranges and sights his piece and selects a fuse of
the right time,
After firing I see him lean aside and look eagerly off to note the
effect;
Elsewhere I hear the cry of a regiment charging, (the young colonel
leads himself this time with brandish’d sword,)
I see the gaps cut by the enemy’s volleys, (quickly fill’d up, no
delay,)
I breathe the suffocating smoke, then the f lat clouds hover low
concealing all;
Now a strange lull for a few seconds, not a shot fired on either side,
Then resumed the chaos louder than ever, with eager calls and
orders of officers,
Source 2: Poem
Background:
Walt Whitman’s “The Artilleryman’s Vision” describes the nighttime
dreams of a Civil War veteran after the war has ended.
5
10
15
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1. Analyze
2. Practice
3. Perform
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Discuss and Decide
What is happening in “The Artilleryman’s Vision”? What events occur in the
present and which events occur in the past?
While from some distant part of the field the wind wafts to my ears
a shout of applause, (some special success,)
And ever the sound of the cannon far or near, (rousing even in
dreams a devilish exultation and all the old mad joy in the
depths of my soul,)
And ever the hastening of infantry shifting positions, batteries,
cavalry, moving hither and thither,
(The falling, dying, I heed not, the wounded dripping and red I heed
not, some to the rear are hobbling,)
Grime, heat, rush, aide-de-camps galloping by or on a full run,
With the patter of small arms, the warning
s-s-t
of the rif les, (these
in my vision I hear or see,)
And bombs bursting in air, and at night the vari-color’d rockets.
20
25
Unit 3: Literary Analysis
77
Letter to His Mother
by Walt Whitman
© Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
Source 3: Letter
Background:
In this letter to his mother, Whitman describes a meaningful encounter
with a wounded Union soldier follow
ing the Battle of Fredericksburg.
January 29, 1865
Dear Mother—
Here is a case of a soldier I found among the crowded cots in
the Patent hospital—(they have removed most of the men of late
and broken up that hospital). He likes to have some one to talk to,
and we will listen to him. He got badly wounded in the leg and side
at Fredericksburg that eventful Saturday, 13th December. He lay
the succeeding two days and nights helpless on the field, between
the city and those grim batteries, for his company and his regiment
had been compelled to leave him to his fate. To make matters worse,
he lay with his head slightly down hill, and could not help himself.
At the end of some fifty hours he was brought off, with other
wounded, under a f lag of truce.
We ask him how the Rebels treated him during those two days
and nights within reach of them—whether they came to him—
whether they abused him? He answers that several of the Rebels,
soldiers and others, came to him, at one time and another. A couple
of them, who were together, spoke roughly and sarcastically, but did
no act. One middle-aged man, however, who seemed to be moving
around the field among the dead and wounded for benevolent
10
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1. Analyze
2. Practice
3. Perform
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Close Read
Why might Whitman have been particularly interested in this soldier? Cite text
evidence in your response.
purposes, came to him in a way he will never forget. This man
treated our soldier kindly, bound up his wounds, cheered him,
gave him a couple of biscuits, gave him a drink and water, asked
him if he could eat some beef. This good Secesh, however, did not
change our soldier’s position, for it might have caused the blood
to burst from the wounds where they were clotted and stagnated.
Our soldier is from Pennsylvania; has had a pretty severe time; the
wounds proved to be bad ones. But he retains a good heart, and is at
present on the gain. . . .
Walt
20
Unit 3: Literary Analysis
79
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Respond to Questions on Step 2 Sources
These questions will help you analyze the sources you’ve read. Use your notes
and refer to the sources in order to answ
er the questions. Your answers to these
questions will help you write your essay.
1
Which of the following best summarizes the theme of Whitman’s poem “The
Artilleryman’s Vision”?
a.
The true heroes of war are the officers and cavalry.
b.
War is a glorious pursuit that is worth all the pain and suffering it causes.
c.
War causes suffering and ends in death.
d.
War is hard on common soldiers even when the war is over.
2
Select the three pieces of evidence from
the Whitman poem that best support
your answer to Question 1.
a.
“While my wife at my side lies slumbering, and the wars are over long . . . “ (line 1)
b.
“There in the room as I wake from sleep this vision presses upon me . . . “
(line 4)
c.
“. . . I hear the irregular snap! snap!” (line 6)
d.
“The crashing and smoking, the pride of the men in their pieces . . .”
(line 11)
e.
“The chief-gunner ranges and sights his piece and selects a fuse of the
right time . . .” (line 12)
f.
“Elsewhere I hear the cry of a regiment charging, (the young colonel leads
himself this time with brandish’d sword,) . . .” (line 14)
g.
“Now a strange lull for a few seconds , not a shot fired on either side,“
(line 17)
h.
“. . . (rousing even in dreams a devilish exultation and all the old mad joy in
the depths of my soul,)” (line 20)
3
In what way does the historical context in which they were written affect the
poem and the letter?
a.
Both works reflect the daily experiences of common Civil War soldiers in battle.
b.
Both works glorify the Union cause in the Civil War, which Whitman
supported.
c.
Both works delve deeply into the feelings of the families of Civil War
soldiers.
d.
Both works show that the common soldier in the Civil War was lost without
his leaders.
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1. Analyze
2. Practice
3. Perform
© Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
4
Select the three pieces of evidence from
the Whitman poem and the letter that
best support your answer to Question 3.
a.
“There in the room as I wake from sleep this vision presses upon me . . .” (poem, line 4)
b.
“ . . . tumultuous now the contest rages . . . “ (poem, line 9)
c.
“I breathe the suffocating smoke, then the flat clouds hover low concealing
all . . . “ (poem, line 16)
d.
“He got badly wounded in the leg and side at Fredericksburg that eventful
Saturday, 13th December.” (letter, lines 4–5)
e.
“We ask him how the Rebels treated him . . . “ (letter, line 12)
f.
“. . . good Secash, however, did not change our soldier’s position . . .”
(letter, lines 22–23)
g.
“Our soldier is from Pennsylvania . . . “ (letter, line 25)
h.
“But he retains a good heart . . .” (letter, line 26)
5
Prose Constructed-Response
How does Whitman’s word choice in “The
Artilleryman’s Vision” and his use of phrases such as “rousing even in dreams a
devilish exultation” (lines 20–21)
describe his attitude toward war?
6
Prose Constructed-Response
How does the letter give you a glimpse into
Whitman’s sensitivity as a nurse?
7
Prose Constructed-Response
Does the poem or the letter offer a more
disturbing view of the after-effects of war? Cite text evidence in your response.
Unit 3: Literary Analysis
81