Assignment 3: draft analytical essay about poetry the essay

Assignment 3: Draft Analytical Essay about Poetry


The essay assignment for this week is to compose a paper of at least 750 words in which you offer your interpretation of a key theme in one of the assigned poems. You may choose any poem from the reading list except for “The Chimney Sweeper. If you wish, you may base your paper on the analysis you began in this week’s discussion question. If you get “stuck,” read your chosen poem again with a pen in hand so you can make notes. Do not hesitate to share your initial ideas with your classmates and the instructor.

  • You should open your essay with an introductory paragraph that presents your poem as well as its author. Information about the poet and the social context surrounding the writing of the poem can be found in your textbook. End your introduction with a thesis statement that identifies and interprets a key theme of the poem. 
  • Each paragraph following the introduction should present specific aspects of the poem that help to illustrate and support your thesis. Make sure to quote and analyze specific lines that support your argument.
  • Include a concluding paragraph at the end that summarizes the main points of the paper and explains the significance of the thesis.

You may use this sample student paper as an example. If you need help formulating your thesis, please contact your instructor.

You do not need to do outside research for this essay. Instead, look at the sample student essay on “The Chimney Sweeper” and use your textbook to find other models. 

Apply APA rules of style to source citations as well as the overall formatting of your essay. Be sure to include a title page and a References page.

Use this APA Citation Helper as a convenient reference for properly citing resources.

This handout will help guide you in the details of formatting your essay using APA style.

You may create your essay in this APA-formatted template.

When responding to your peers please answer the following questions:

  1. Locate the paper’s thesis. Is it obvious or unclear? Does it establish an interpretation of a key theme from the poem? Is the thesis as specific as it needs to be?
  2. Is each paragraph organized around one key point? Do topic sentences clearly indicate the focus of each paragraph?
  3. Does the author support each main point with direct quotations from the poem that are analyzed and explained? Do you have any suggestions for improvement?
  4. Where do you disagree with the author’s analysis? What aspects of the poem are left unexplained?

These are the list of poems:


  • William Blake,  “The Chimney Sweeper” (p. 239)
  • Anne Bradstreet, “To My Dear and Loving Husband” (p. 658)
  • Countee Cullen, “For a Lady I know” (p. 212)
  • Emily Dickinson, “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” (p. 593)
  • Emily Dickinson, “This is My Letter to the World” (p. 591)
  • John Donne, “Death Be Not Proud” (p. 689)
  • Robert Frost, “Desert Places” (p. 380)
  • Robert Frost, “Mending Wall” (p. 704)Wi
  • Robert Herrick, “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time” (p. 721)
  • Langston Hughes,  “Theme for English B” (p. 613)
  • Christopher Marlowe,  “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” (p. 749)
  • Wilfred Owen,  “Futility” (p. 768)
  • Ezra Pound,  “The River Merchant’s Wife: A Letter” (p. 778)
  • Theodore Roethke,  “My Papa’s Waltz” (p. 211)
  • William Carlos Williams, “This is Just to Say” (p. 248)
  • Williams Wordsworth,  “The World is too much with us” (p. 493)

Book: The Literature Collection: An E-Text



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