ENGL 202 PAPER 2 POEM COMPARISON ANALYSIS
ENGL 202 PAPER 2 POEM COMPARISON ANALYSIS ENGL 202 01
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This 7 page Study Guide was uploaded by Sierra Taylor on Sunday May 15, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to ENGL 202 01 at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo taught by Dr. Ryan Hatch in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 58 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Literary Studies in Foreign Language at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo.
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Date Created: 05/15/16
The Word Plum by Helen Chasin The word plum is delicious pout and push, luxury of self-love, and savoring murmur full in the mouth and falling like fruit taut skin pierced, bitten, provoked into juice, and tart flesh question and reply, lip and tongue of pleasure. Practicing by Marie Howe I want to write a love poem for the girls I kissed in seventh grade, a song for what we did on the floor in the basement of somebody’s parents’ house, a hymn for what we didn’t say but thought: That feels good or I like that, when we learned how to open each other’s mouths how to move our tongues to make somebody moan. We called it practicing, and one was the boy, and we paired off—maybe six or eight girls—and turned out the lights and kissed and kissed until we were stoned on kisses, and lifted our nightgowns or let the straps drop, and, Now you be the boy: concrete floor, sleeping bag or couch, playroom, game room, train room, laundry. Linda’s basement was like a boat with booths and portholes instead of windows. Gloria’s father had a bar downstairs with stools that spun, plush carpeting. We kissed each other’s throats. We sucked each other’s breasts, and we left marks, and never spoke of it upstairs outdoors, in daylight, not once. We did it, and it was practicing, and slept, sprawled so our legs still locked or crossed, a hand still lost in someone’s hair . . . and we grew up and hardly mentioned who the first kiss really was—a girl like us, still sticky with moisturizer we’d shared in the bathroom. I want to write a song for that thick silence in the dark, and the first pure thrill of unreluctant desire, just before we’d made ourselves stop. Taylor 1 Sierra S. Taylor Dr. Ryan Hatch ENGL 20201 14 May 2016 Creative Title Love is the most popular theme and concept written about in all forms of literary art. Ranging from heartbreak, grief, longing or achievement of love, the literary realm has covered all its bases. The Word Plum by Helen Chasin involves a speaker who describes how saying the word “plum” is almost masturbatory in emotion and feeling. Chasin uses a range of poetic devices and figurative language to convey the truly erotic and sexual event that the poem is meant to symbolize. In comparison, Practicing by Marie Howe involves a speaker reflecting on her adolescence of which she and other girls experimented with their sexuality and physicality before they were taught what was termed appropriate by society. In taking The Word Plum and the poem Practicing, two contrary encounters both inherently express the same concept: that of passionate adoration for something greater than the speaker’s self. In differences of structure and form, figurative language, tone and poetic devices, both Helen Chasin and Marie Howe are able to transcend such dissimilar experiences to a simple and relatable theme of love. P1: Differences in Structure and Form Lastly, although both poems are written in free verse, Howe includes some forms on internal rhyme in line 9 the words “playroom” “game room” “train room”, and in line 15 the words “locked” “crossed” and “lost”. This inclusion of internal rhyme aids to the diverse range of settings of which the girls practiced, as well as the feelings of which society holds to the inappropriateness of girls’ actions. The Word Plum by Helen Chasin: Taylor 2 External structure: 5 stanzas: 1 of 1 line, 2 of 2 lines, 3 of 2 lines Internal Form: st nd i. 1 shift in mode, 1 line is narration, and then from the 2 line to the end of the poem there is a shift to description ii. 1 shift in tone in line 5 from grateful and appreciative to then more erotic and intimate iii. The shift in mode aids the understanding of the speaker describing how masturbatory saying the word “plum” makes them feel. iv. The shift in tone aids the intensity of intimacy between the speaker and the world “plum”. It allows for a greater impact of the true meaning of the plum, the female genitalia, and how the act of oral sex is a passionate feeling of emotions for the speaker and the cherished relationship they have with their lover. Practicing by Marie Howe: External structure: 10, 2 line stanzas Internal form: i. 1 shift in mode in line 2 from narration to reflection and description ii. 2 shift in mode in line 18 from reflection and description to narration and greater significance iii. The first shift in mode shows how the transition from the purpose of the poem, to how and why it has become the purpose. iv. The second shift in mode transitions back from the why the experimenting is so significant, to again narration of the purpose of the poem and introduction to the overall message Howe is trying to convey. v. 1 shift in tone seen in line 18 from nostalgic reminisce to mournful. vi. This shift in tone again emphasizes Howe’s question of society pressing normality of womanhood. It allows the question of why the experimenting had to be deemed as practicing to be revealed. Taylor 3 P2: Differences in Figurative Language The Word Plum by Helen Chasin: alliteration of “p” throughout the entire poem use of descriptive language and imagery allow for the concluding analogy of the plum representing female genitalia 3 points of alliteration in the second stanza “pout and push” (alliteration of ‘p’), “luxury of selflove” (alliteration of “l”), and “selflove, and savoring murmur” (alliteration of “s”) (lines 23). “full in the mouth and falling like fruit” (lines 45); simile, aids the analogy of the poem representing an instance of oral sex by comparing the plum to being “like fruit” even though the poem itself is describing a piece of fruit. “plum” and “taut” forms of onomatopoeia symbolism of the plum representing passionate feelings of love enjambment throughout the entire poem other than the first line; aids to the intensity of emotion and lack of breathe throughout the poem, mimicking the intimacy and pleasing exhaustion of love the entire poem can be viewed as a metaphor because the female genitalia is being described as a plum Practicing by Marie Howe: alliteration of “s” in line 7 “kissed and kissed until stoned on kisses” line 7 also a metaphor because the term “stoned on kisses” compares the action of kissing to the feeling of being high. line 10 simile of “Linda’s basement was like a boat with booths and portholes”, comparing the basement to a boat line 10 also an allusion to both Linda and her basement line 11 allusion to Gloria, her father, and their basement line 13 symbolism, “we left marks” symbolizing hickeys and bruises. Taylor 4 P3: Differences in Tone and Poetic Devices The Word Plum by Helen Chasin: Tone: erotic appreciation of saying the word plum; representing the erotic appreciation of oral sex and feelings for the physicality of a lover. Practicing by Marie Howe: The shift into an overall mournful tone towards the end of the poem both involves the fact that the speaker is mourning over her previous experience, but also in the disappointment of having to label the “experimenting” as “practicing” and treating it in a way that is wasn’t. P4: Why and how do these differences produce different meanings of love? The Word Plum by Helen Chasin: the use of the analogy of a plum representing female genitalia shows the greater symbol of the poem describing an encounter of oral sex. not only does the poem describe a physical expression of love, but it creates a relationship between the speaker and the word plum. the meaning of love in this poem is passionately physical. Practicing by Marie Howe: The poem is a reflection of the speaker’s adolescent experiences out of the dissatisfaction of her present life, possibly her present sex life. This shows the speaker’s mourning for a different kind of love, or possibly a lack of love. The differences in love is also prevalent in the stages of life that Howe is trying to convey. The main question of the poem is why society conditions women to become Taylor 5 objects. Howe herself stated “in learning how to be a girl in this culture, we are learning how to be objects. So in the poems, I was trying to find places in my young life where I was actually the subject” showing that she herself was a victim of this impending theme of society (756). In Practicing, the readers are also introduced to a persona as a speaker. The poem is not autobiographical and Marie Howe is not the speaker, but the events displayed are true details of Howe’s life. The existence of the poem itself is what creates the necessary distinction between the author and the speaker. But it is with this persona that the readers can depict the true audience of the poem, and therefore are introduced to the true meaning. Perhaps the audience are the girls who the speaker kissed when she was young, or perhaps young girls in general, or older girls. But in summation, the persona is speaking to society and calling into question why and how the “normal” became normal. Conclusion: Restatement of These: This universal theme of love is described by two entirely different experiences and authors through use of structure and form, figurative language, tone, and poetic devices.
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