How to study and critique a poem.

Essay by Mich3High School, 10th grade October 2003

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How to critique Poetry

When studying or critiquing a poem, there are many aspects to consider. A poem is an essence of expression whereby figurative and rhetorical devices, rhythm and sound are often key elements. There is usually a theme or an idea in mind...friendship for example. Such a wide theme brings with it many aspects such as jealousy, betrayal or inspiration. With these certain aspects in mind, the poet chooses the appropriate words for which to express such thoughts, depending on such qualities as denotation, connotation and their power to conjure certain images.

1. A word that DENOTES is a word that gives the clear and actual meaning of something. CONNOTES implies a certain value aside from giving the actual meaning

of something. Words also give you images that you relate to for example either on a visual, auditory, tactile level.


2. When one gives another name to a certain subject, ie when one equates one thing to a different thing, one is using a METAPHOR as a figure of speech.

One could say "love is a joke" if one wanted to imply that love could play tricks with one's emotions.

3. A SIMILE likens one thing to another for example if one states that "friendship is like a ship's anchor", because it steadies a person in stormy weather, then one is likening friendship to an anchor.

If one termed something with a word that was closely related to it or that was an

attribute of that particular thing, then one is using METONYMY as a figure of speech.

Instead of using the word heart one could use the words "blood red" (as that is the colour and hence one physical attribute of the heart).

4. SYNECDOCHE substitutes part of something as the name of that...