Analysing Different Poetic Styles Of Multiple Artists English Language Essay

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Have you heard Michael Jackson's Earth song? Whether you've heard it before or not, listen to once more very carefully, and concentrate on every element that goes to make it so hard-hitting. Additionally, read the lyrics of the song to understand it better. How did you feel after listening to it? Maybe it angered you, saddened you or brought you grief. Whichever emotion it may have evoked, it must have impacted you in some way. Maybe it inspired you to make a change for a better world or it made you think about man's selfish motives. Can you figure out MJ's main idea and his approach? What moved you the most? Do you think it was the lyrics, the rhythm, or the speaker's tone? In short, what makes this song so awe-inspiring for you?Let's try to deconstruct this song by first understanding what MJ wants to convey. He talks about the planet's destruction brought about by animal cruelty, deforestation, pollution, and war. But this idea is presented poignantly with the despaired tone of the song. Despair is evident all over; think about how MJ earnestly asks "Did you ever stop to notice/The crying Earth the weeping shores?" The tone shifts as the song progresses. While it gets dreamy as he sings, "I used to dream/ I used to glance beyond the stars", it gets melancholic as he says, "Now I don't know where we are/Although I know we've drifted far."Take a look at the choice of words and the use of poetic devices. He personifies things in nature when he says "crying Earth" and "weeping shores". Also see how he contrasts "killing fields" with "flowering fields." Adjectives such as "the crying Earth, the weeping shores," and heart wrenching phrases like "burnt despite our pleas" and "torn apart by creed" are also contrasted to create emotion. Look closer at the words that develop the tone; "crying," "weeping," "killing," "torn apart" that express despondency. The song is catchy because it also includes rhyming words such as "rain" and "gain," "time" and "mine," and "done" and "son." No doubt the lilting music makes the song more poignant, but if you listen carefully the melody is quite simple. The "Aaaaaaaaah Aaaaaaaaah" and "oooooooooooo oooooooo" creates rhythm. And the constant repetition of "what about us" reiterates MJ's pain, amplifying his emotions. You just saw how the Earth Song brought out the theme of despondency at the planet's state in a poignant way through tone, word choice, rhyme, and other sound effects. Of course, the singer and music also contributed to building up the theme! But unlike songs, in poems we rely mainly on the "lyrics" or language to bring out the theme. In the past, when poetry was only oral, it was more connected to song. Poetry still retains sound qualities even as it has moved to written forms that are typically never sung. So to bring out the theme of a poem and appeal to readers, the poet makes effective use of tone, speaker, word choice, poetic sound devices, rhythm, and form.<br><br>As you progress through this lesson, you'll see how each of these elements work to build up the theme of a poem.

Section 2: Elements Contributing to Theme Elements Contributing to Theme Shelley's OzymandiasWhat do you think is the theme(s) of this poem? One reading may not be adequate to bring out the poem's meaning. Read the poem several times to discover its theme. Here are some of the themes you may have interpreted.Impermanance or the passage of time: The broken statue's description and words such as "nothing beside remains" suggest impermanence since it shows that all things decay eventually.Great art endures: This is evident when the speaker says "Tell that its sculptor well those passions read/Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things." Pride before a fall: The inscription of the arrogant king's words, "King of Kings" on the pedestal as well as the wrecked statue's description suggest pride goes to a fall. Worldly power does not last: The shattered remains of the statue convey the futility in seeking stately glories as worldly power does not last. You'll now see how the elements of tone, speaker, word choice, poetic sound devices, rhythm, and form bring out the theme in a poem.

Section 3: Tone and Speaker

Tone and Speaker The themes you just saw were brought out with the help of many poetic elements, like the tone for instance. The tone of a poem encapsulates the poet's attitude toward a poem's subject. Frost rightly defined them as "voices behind a door that cuts off the words." So even if we don't catch the exact words, the tones of voices indicate what's going on. Tones can shift through a poem, creating many moods, just like in Ozymandias. Reread Ozymandias and identify the tones it carries. The poem starts off with a tone of mystery, when the "traveller from an antique land" is introduced. But it then changes to irony with the image of the "Half sunk, a shatter'd visage," "lifeless things," and "Nothing beside remains." The tone gets arrogant when the speaker speaks the kings words, "My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings: Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!" and the inscription on the pedestal, "king of kings". The tone creates feelings of desolation with "round the decay," "boundless and bare," and "lone and level sands. "Look at a tone while considering the poem's theme. The ironic, mocking tone effectively reveals the theme of how all things, even powerful rulers, fade away with time. The arrogant king thought he'd last forever but the irony is that even his statue doesn't stand the test of time. Since the tone reflects the speaker's attitude or mood in a poem, the speaker contributes in building a poem's theme. The speaker is the person who does the talking in the poem. In Ozymandias, there's more than one speaker. It begins with an "I" which refers to a narrator, but we soon find out that the poem's main speaker is a traveler from an "antique land." The description of the traveler adds a sense of drama. However, the lines, "My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings: Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!" though spoken by the traveler actually belong to Ozymandias, making him in a way another speaker in this poem. The speaker's presence reveals the theme of impermanence of all things, even positions of power over time. Firstly, being a mysterious "traveller" himself, his story may not be authentic. This also comes across from the fact that he conveys a story of an earlier time of which "Nothing beside remains"; not something he's personally witnessed. In fact the speaker may not be reliable and might be distorting the story, since the narrator is unaware of the king and his statue. This highlights the theme of how the king is rendered as a quaint and probably imaginary character, acquainted to only a few who care to know about him. All this, is conveyed by a mysterious, obscure source: a traveler "from an antique land." Let's try understanding how the speaker helps build up the theme in Stevie Smith's poem Not Waving But Drowning; read it and think about who is speaking the lines. The poem has many speakers: a narrator, a dying or dead man, and other unspecified voices who could be family, friends, or bystanders of the dying/dead man. The narrator introduces the scene in a reporter-like fashion; but the dying man takes over and moans that he is "not waving but drowning." However the multiple speakers in the second stanza dismiss the man's death by saying that he "always loved larking" and probably "his heart gave way". However, the dying/dead man refutes their statement saying that for him "it was too cold always". This could perhaps mean that he was always lonely, misunderstood, in agony, or depressed. In a literal sense, "not waving but drowning" means that the dead man indeed was drowning which is misinterpreted as waving. Figuratively however, the quote could mean that speaker kept up appearances but masked his true feelings and was actually "drowning." Multiple speakers here brings out the theme since it expresses that while the dead man may have appeared "larking" to the world, it was at odds with his actual feelings. The multiple speakers contrast how people's perceptions of a person may be in variance to someone's self-perception. Rite of Passage by Sharon Olds and then select the option that best describes how the tone and speaker contribute to the theme of the poem. The melancholic tone reflects a mother's sadness at the behavior of the children at the party. (Look closer… the poem's tone doesn't suggest the speaker's unhappiness at the children's behavior at the party. This is evident in how she ends, "they relax and get down to playing war, celebrating my son's life." These lines though appalling don't exhibit sadness.) The ironic tone brings out a mother's cynicism at the loss of innocence. (Correct! All through the poem, the mother is a silent observer, who mockingly interprets the children's actions as loss of innocence. She seems resigned rather than sad, terming them as inevitable "rites of passage.")The lighthearted tone brings out a mother's amusement at the children's competitiveness. (Look closer… The mother is a little too sarcastic to seem pleased with the children's behavior. For instance, she's sarcastic when she terms them as "a room of small bankers") The appalled tone sheds light on a mother's chagrin at the heartlessness of children. (Look closer… The mother is merely a silent observer and doesn't seem shocked or even surprised. The tone of the poem itself is calm and not loud. For instance the speaker is surprisingly calm in the last lines when she says "like Generals, they relax and get down to playing war, celebrating my son's life.")Read: Edgar Allan Poe's A Dream within a Dream and select the best option that describes how tone contributes to the theme of the poem. The morbid tone highlights the poem's theme of disappointment because of unrequited love. (Look closer…the poem focuses on disillusionment, for instance "And I hold within my hand Grains of the golden sand- how few!")The hopeful tone of the poem brings to light the theme of hope even when everything seems lost. (Look closer… the poem does not have a hopeful tone. The speaker seems to be wallowing in sadness and doesn't feel very optimistic. For instance, "O God! can I not save One from the pitiless wave?") The despaired tone carries the poem's theme of frustration in unfulfilled dreams. (Correct! The speaker is frustrated and disillusioned. He seems to have lost hope and questions rather than declares. He resigns and says, "Is all that we see or seem But a dream within a dream?") The inquisitive tone of the poem expresses the poem's theme of how man seeks hope even in the hardest situations. (Look closer… The speaker bootlessly questions his fate rather than being inquisitive and genuinely seeking and answer. For instance his resignation can be seen when he says, "O God! can I not grasp/Them with a tighter clasp?/ O God! can I not save/ One from the pitiless wave?")

Section 4: Word choice:

Same as earlier with word choice and theme highlighted.

Word ChoiceYou've already seen how tone and speaker help build up on the theme of the poem. But what about the choice and order of words? To Samuel Taylor Coleridge poetry, is "the best words in the best order" and rightly so. Word choice and word order determine the way a poet communicates a feeling or thought. Not only do they convey the poet's ideas, but maintain rhythm and tone, carry symbolic significance, and develop the poem's theme. In short, word choice and order ensure that you respond to a poem, exactly the way the poet expects you to. Let's go back to Ozymandias and see how the careful selection of words brings out the theme of impermanence in all things except art. In the begining, Shelley uses words that describe long-standing things, like "antique," "stone," and "desert". These images change soon after Shelley uses "sands", which indicates the passage of time. What follows are words that highlight the impermanence of earthly things, like "trunkless," "shattered," "decay," and "wreck." But as the poem progresses, Shelley appreciates the artist and says, "Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things." It seems as if Shelley wants to clarify that only feels art is enduring and not the king, terming him as "lifeless." Word choice also helps impress upon readers Ozymandias' personality. He is described with words like "wrinkled," "sneer", and "cold" which evokes an arrogant, unpleasant, and heartless image of a king. Even the inscription, "King of Kings"; reveals the kings arrogance. Let's take a look at how word choice builds the theme in another poem. Reread Edgar Allan Poe's A Dream within a Dream and look at the words closely. As soon as you glace through the poem, you'll notice that the language is simple but emotive, and conveys the speaker's despair and loss on being separated from a loved one or at the time gone by in his life. This is evident right from the beginning, with verses like "kiss upon the brow" and "parting from you now" which can be interpreted in myriad ways; literally and figuratively. Hope for the speaker has "flown away", which expresses his absolute despair. In the second stanza, he uses "roar" and "surf-tormented shore," to convey how disturbed he is and how chaotic his life has become, after his loss. The speaker then describes a rich image of "Grains of golden sand" and "how they creep/Through my fingers to the deep." Literally, you would imagine the speaker holding grains of sand that pass through his fingers. Figuratively however, "Grains of the golden sand" could represent time, dreams, or even memories. These slip out of the speaker's control and he laments, "can I not grasp/Them with a tighter clasp?" This reveals his utter hopelessness<br><br>The repetition of heart-wrenching cries of "O God" express a despairing spirit about the impermanence of love or life. However, it seems as if the speaker wants to believe and have hope again that his existence or love is not just a dream and has purpose. So, unlike the first stanza where "All that we see or seem/Is but a dream within a dream" is a statement, at the end of the poem the speaker asks uses the same words as a question which reveals a trickle of hope.William Blake's A Poison Tree. Think about how the words "watered," "sunned," "tears," and "wiles" contribute to the theme of the poem. reveals how the speaker allows his hatred towards his foe to grow unchecked (Correct! The speaker masks his negative feelings toward his foe and these feelings get more intense. These words develop the metaphor of the seeds of hate which are nurtured within the speaker. The metaphor is taken forward since the seeds are "watered" with "tears," and also "sunned" by "wiles.")implies how the speaker allows his wrath to grow unintentionally (Look closer… the speaker is well aware of his growing wrath and he masks it by saying, "And I sunned it with smiles And with soft deceitful wiles." brings out the speaker's hypocritical character, being nice to the foe and angry at the same time. (Look closer… The speaker is a hypocrite and it can be seen when he says "And with soft deceitful wiles." However, all those words do not contribute to the theme of hypocrisy in the poem.)

Section 5: Poetic sound devices

While the poem's tone, speaker, and choice of words serve as the basic outline for the poem, poetic sound devices give poems a special musical quality, which also contributes to the theme. You might have heard of devices such as alliteration, rhyme, assonance, consonance, and onomatopoeia; all these give poetic verses that special sound quality. You'll explore these devices in this interactivity.

Ozymandias Tab:

Present the entire poem here.

Show 4 titles with a hotspot next to each. On clicking the hotspot next to each title, display the following text in the pop-ups.

On clicking Rhyme:

The poem follows a strange rhyme scheme of ababacdcedefef which doesn't fit into any standard sonnet rhyming pattern.

Take a look at how the rhyming words in the poem carry the theme:

"land"/"sand": By reading just these two words, you'll understand that the land that's being described is a desert. These help reiterate how "nothing else remains" of Ozymandias' kingdom, except for sand.

"read"/"fed": Shelley venerates the sculptor who perfectly recreated or "read" the kings expression; and in a way "fed" could mean that he enlarged the king's ego. This brings out two themes; one of impermanent art and the other of pride going to a fall.

"things"/"kings": These words contribute to the theme of impermanence of earthly "things" including once powerful "kings."

"despair"/"bare": These rhymes bring out the theme of desolation since there's only "despair" now that everything is "bare."

You'll also notice the presence of half-rhymes or imperfect rhymes in "stone"/"frown" and "appear"/"bare"

On clicking Assonance:


Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown

And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,

Particularly explain the sound devices in the last 2-3 lines of the poem e.g. the assonance and alliteration in "Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare," emphasizes the vastness and desolation of the desert surrounding the statue of Ozymandias.

On clicking Alliteration:

Mention extensive use of alliteration e.g.

Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown

And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,

The lone and level sands stretch far away".

Explain how the alliteration "lone" and "level" and "sands" and "stretch" contribute to the image of the desert and add to the theme of desolation as all that remains is the vast stretches of sand.

Honky Tonk in Cleveland, Ohio Tab

Read the poem <a href=""><font color="#247FB2"><u>Hony Tonk in Celeveland, Ohio</u></font></a> (OR PUT THE ENTIRE POEM HERE)

Carl Sandburg beautifully describes the sights and sounds of a honky tonk. A honky tonk is a tawdry drinking establishment with musical entertainment, usually found in the South and Southwest. As you read the poem, you'll feel like you're in a honky tonk yourself. And you get acquainted with the sounds, sights, and the people usually found in such places.

Show 3 titles with a hotspot next to each.

On clicking Onomatopoeia

This poem is filled with Onomatopoeia which is the naming of a thing or action by an oral imitation of the sound associated with it such as the "banjo tickles and titters." Take a look at onomatopoeia in Honky Tonk in Cleveland, Ohio:

"drum <b><u>crashes</u></b>"

"coronet <b><u>razzes</b></u>"

"trombone pony <b><u>neighs</b></u>"

"tuba jackass <b><u>snorts</b></u>"

"banjo <b><u>tickles</u></b> and <b><u>titters</b></u>"

Each of these create a vivid sound image in the reader's mind and go on to build up the poem's theme.

On clicking Alliteration and Assonance

Alliteration which is the repetition of same sounds or of the same kinds of sounds at the beginning of words or in stressed syllables; is evident in the poem. Take a look at the use of Alliteration in Honky Tonk in Cleveland, Ohio:

"jazz" and "razzes"

"trombone" and "tuba"

"fleet of floozies etc.") and assonance ("jazz" and "razzes," "weep' and "beer" etc.) in the poem and focus on how these devices bring out the theme of the poem effectively (vividly evokes images and sounds commonly found in a honky tonk).

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Show the following stanza in the graphic from Lord Byron's poem,

When we two parted

When we two parted

          In silence and tears,

      Half broken-hearted

          To sever for years,

      Pale grew thy cheek and cold,

          Colder thy kiss;

      Truly that hour foretold

          Sorrow to this.

If you like, you can read the entire text of <a href=""><font color="#247FB2"><u>Lord Byron's When We Two Parted</u></font></a>. How do poetic sound devices in this stanza of Byron's poem, When we two parted contribute to the theme?

Onomatopoeia and rhyme bring out the theme of pain and loss at the lovers' parting. (Look closer… the poetic devices don't only highlight the pain and loss of the lover's loss.)

Alliteration, assonance, and onomatopoeia are used to describe the farewell scene of the lovers. (Look closer… the poem talks about more than just a farewell scene.)

Alliteration, assonance, and rhyme create a sad atmosphere at the lovers' separation. (Correct! Poetic devices in the poem create a sad atmosphere which intensifies the lover's feelings on separation)

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Show the following stanza in the graphic from Robert Browning's poem, Meeting at Night:

And the startled little waves that leap 

In fiery ringlets from their sleep, 

As I gain the cove with pushing prow, 

And quench its speed i' the slushy sand. 

If you like, you can read the entire text of <a href=""><font color="#247FB2"><u>Robert Browinngs' Meeting in the Night</u></font></a>

Now that you've read the poem, answer this question: How do the poem's sound devices contribute to its theme?

Alliteration and rhyme bring out the theme of how a man faces the travails of a long and arduous journey across the night sea. (Look closer… There's more than just the man's journey in the poem. For instance, "waves that <b><u>leap</u></b>" from "their <b><u>sleep</b></u> suggests stronger emotions.)

Alliteration and repetition bring out the theme of a man's fears and doubts as he journeys across the night to meet his beloved. (Look closer… The poem remotely talks about fears and doubts on the man's part. For instance repetition of "and" and "quench its <u>s</u>peed i'the <u>s</u>lushy <u>s</u>and" suggest determination rather than fear on the man's part)

Rhyme, repetition, and alliteration bring out the theme of the man's passionate tenacity as he journeys to meet his beloved. (Correct! Passion can be seen in the rhymes, "leap"/"sleep" which attribute to the distraught sea. Yet the man reaches "the cove with <u>p</u>ushing <u>p</u>row" and quenches "its <u>s</u>peed i'the <u>s</u>lushy sand" which suggests tenacity. Further, the repetition of "and" makes the task seem arduous. Yet the man goes on, with great passion to meet his beloved.)

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<b>Rhythm and Form</b><br><br>You just saw how poetic devices like alliteration, assonance, and repetition enhance a poem's theme. Now let's take a look at what rhythm has to do with poetry. Rhythm is that musical quality, produced by the repetition of stressed and unstressed syllables in words. A combination of these stressed and unstressed syllables or "feet," are called a poem's "meter". All of these together, make up a poem's "form" such as a ballad, elegy, sonnet etc. While many standard patterns of meter and form exist, poets may not necessarily conform to these standards; just as in <a href=""><font color="#247FB2"><u>Ozymandias</u></font></a>.<br><br>Take a look at the poems rhyme scheme: ababacdcedefef. This pattern doesn't conform to any traditional pattern and even as you read it, you might get the feeling that something's not in order. Probably the rhyme scheme itself could represent the discord between the way Ozymandias thought the future was going to be and the actual, grim reality.<br><br>The poem is in iambic pentameter which are lines that of five feet each. Each of the feet comprise of one unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. Take a look at these lines with which conform to iambic pentameter:<br><br>"Who said: / Two vast / and trunk / less legs / of stone"<br>" Half sunk, / a shat / tered vi / sage lies, / whose frown,"<br>"And wrink / led lip, / and sneer / of cold / command,"<br><br>However, a few lines do not conform to the iambic pentameter (note the syllables in italics):<br>"I met / <i>a travel</i> / ler from / an an / tique land<br><i>Stand</i> in / the des/ ert… Near / them, on / the sand,"<br>"<i>Tell that</i> / its sculp / tor well / those pas / sions read,"<br>"<i>Nothing</i> / beside / remains. / <i>Round the</i> / decay"

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What is the poetic form of Ozymandias? You might want to take a look at the various <a href=""><font color="#247FB2"><u>poetic forms</u></font></a> to refresh your memory.

A poem or song composed especially as a lament for a deceased person.

A narrative poem, often of folk origin and intended to be sung, consisting of simple stanzas and usually having a refrain.

Sonnet (Correct! A sonnet is a poetic form consisting of fourteen lines, usually iambic pentameter.)

elegy (Look closer… An elegy is a poem that commemorates or laments for a departed person. Ozymandias does not commemorate or lament the king's death, but despises his pride instead.)

ballad (Look closer…A ballad is a narrative poem or song, often of folk origin and consists of simple stanzas with a refrain. Ozymandias doesn't have simple stanzas or a refrain.)

free verse (Look closer…. Free verse refers to verses that are usually unrhymed with no fixed metrical pattern. As you've seen, Ozymandias does follow a metrical pattern.)

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So as you just saw, Ozymandias follows a sonnet form. Sonnets are fourteen-line poems which can be traced back to the great Italian poet Petrarch. In a Petrarchan sonnet, the first eight lines, the octave specify a concern and the following six lines, the sestet which seeks to resolve the posed concern. The sonnet's ninth line, the volta, marks a shift in the poem's direction. The other famous sonnet form is the Shakespearean sonnet which comprises of three quatrains of four lines each; and ends with a rhyming couplet.<br><br>Ozymandias follows neither form entirely… but both! While it starts off with the Shakespearean form with rhyme scheme abab. However, the rhyme scheme changes to acdc rather than the expected cdcd. And finally, it ends without a rhyming couplet but with an efef scheme, like the Petrarchan sonnet. So finally we get a strange ababacdcedefef rhyme scheme. Yet, it retains the qualities of a Shakespearean sonnet because it uses iambic pentameter in a few verses. So, though the poem is a sonnet, it does not fit the exact definition of Petrarchan or Shakespearean sonnet. This hybrid form contributes to the theme that Ozymandias' expectation or vision of grandeur does not match the reality. It also brings out the theme that some things like art/sculpture and nature (sand) stand the test of time whereas other things like arrogant and tyrannical rulers perish.

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Take an example of an elegy, Robert Bridges' Nightingales:

<a href=""><font color="#247FB2"><u></u></font></a>

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You've just seen how the rhyme carries the theme in an elegy. Now let's see how this is done in a ballad. Read Keats' La Belle Dame Sans Meri and pay attention to its rhyme scheme.<br><br>It won't take too long to indentify the simple abcd rhyme scheme in each of its twelve four-line stanzas. The poem is in iambic tetrameter, where the first and third lines contain four stressed syllables while the second and fourth lines contain three stressed syllables. The second and fourth lines are set in perfect end rhyme with one another, giving it the musical sound typically found in ballads. This form compliments the poem's theme which is a narrative that tells a story of a knight who falls in love with a beautiful fair lady, who then casts him aside, and the knight is left sad and moping.<br><br>Reread <a href=""><font color="#247FB2"><u>Sharon Old's Rite of Passage</u></font></a>, and pay attention to its form and rhythm. You'll notice that it doesn't carry any specific form at all! This is known as a free verse form. A free verse doesn't follow the traditional orderliness of rhyme and rhythm. This chaotic form, contributes to the poem's theme since the poem itself carries a disillusioned, ironic tone and disturbing theme. This style effectively explores the two colliding, yet complementing themes, of innocence and adulthood as the boys act as if they were men. One would expect a typical birthday party with lighthearted, hyper excitement. However, the mother views this party differently and sees hidden adults in the children. Through the use of free verse the mother's thoughts and feelings at the loss of innocence are effectively expressed.

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<b>Summary</b><br><br>As you've seen, a poem's theme can be elevated and can touch readers with the effective use

Review the main points. Mention that the theme of a poem can be elevated and can touch the readers by the effective use of tone, speaker, word choice, poetic sound devices, rhythm, and form.

Mention how these elements contribute to the theme of a poem. If we are attuned to these elements, we will be able to understand the theme better and have a deeper appreciation of the poem.