Marymount University Homage to My Hair by Lucille Clifton Poem Analysis

Introduction: Include title (in quotation marks), author, dates, brief background of the author if necessary and relevant, a brief summary of the plot (situation), or literal level of the poem, and your thesis, which probably will mention two or three techniques the poet uses to convey his/her argument (theme). The thesis will include what you believe to be that argument.

You must explicate the poem with regard to So You Want to Talk About Race. If you are not linking the poem and the book in explicit and interesting ways, you aren’t going to be successful with the assignment.

Body Paragraphs: Systematically go through the poem showing the techniques stated in your thesis and showing how they relate to the poet’s argument. Brief quotes should be incorporated into your sentences to clarify your point. Do not, under any circumstance, quote the entire poem within the paper. If you quote three or fewer lines, an inline quote, you should introduce the quote with a signal phrase, and then quote the section of the poem, indicating line breaks with a “/” and stanza breaks with a “//”. To quote more than three lines, use a block quote. In either case, follow the quote with a parenthetical reference of the line number(s). And then, make sure that you follow the quote with an analysis of the quote.

Conclusion: Here you pull the paper together and reaffirm your thesis. You could discuss how the poem relates to real life and/or use this paragraph to disagree with the poet’s argument if you wish.

Additional Style Tips: While the explication tends to be a chronological progression, consider the organization of the paper. How can you group your observations? This, as any other formal paper, should be a multiple-draft project where your initial observations are organized into main points, and these main points are then focused with a thesis in the intro, with topic sentences in the body paragraphs, and finished with a conclusion.

Do not use outside sources. All analysis should be your own. These should be 3 pages, or ~800 words.

Prof. Angela


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