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Analyze the poem To an Athlete Dying young and the Great Gatsby

Cpatter /  
Feb 21, 2009   #1

I was wondering if someone could help me with an essay i need to write for ENG 4U A.

The assignment is: Write an essay in which you analyze the following poem " to an athlete dying young. by A.E Housman. Do this as fully as you can, meaning that you should look at the poem as a whole, and at how the details within the poem (the languae, rhythm, imagery, form and sound) contribute the overall effect. You should also register the emotional impact of the poem (again as a whole and in parts) on you.

Following your analysism write a one-or-two sentence statement that you think Housman would have made about Gatsby's death and explain why, in light of the poem, he would have made it.

I have been brainstorming all day and cann't figure out how this essay should be formatted. And what my topics shoud be. If anyone has any suggestions they would be grealy apperiated.

EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
Feb 21, 2009   #2
Start by answering the question "What is the overall effect of poem?" Your answer to this question will be your thesis statement. Then, list the aspects of the poem that contribute to the effect, providing a summary of what you will talk about. Then, treat each aspect that you have listed to a detailed analysis in its own body paragraph. I guess you can tack the Gatsby thing on at the end, in your conclusion -- that seems like an odd requirement for this sort of essay. But anyway, get a draft done, and post it here for more feedback.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Feb 22, 2009   #3
Oh, thatt is a cool idea. I was thinking that the Gatsby thing would be the thesis statement, made near the end of the first para, but I think Sean's idea of putting it at the end is even better.

Also, look online for what other people have written about this -- not to take their ideas as your own, but to build your appreciation of this poem. Then, look at some poetry analysis by googling "poetry analysis" and words from your list, such as "rhythm"... or:

"Poetry analysis" and imagery


By looking at other poetry analyses, you will get good at this, and soon it will be easy to do this sort of thing. Literature is something to enjoy, so don't be stressed!!
EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
Feb 22, 2009   #4
I was thinking of suggesting that the Gatsby application should be the thesis, but that would make the assignment a lot more difficult, especially since, as far as I know, the poem wasn't written specifically as a commentary on the novel. I get the idea that the teacher mostly wants a poem analysis, but then wants to check to see if the student can make links between texts, too.
OP Cpatter /  
Feb 22, 2009   #5

Thanks for all the input. I'm working on a draft now and hopefully ill have it posted.
Evsus - / 1  
Apr 15, 2015   #6
"To an Athlete Dying Young" How would you all interpret the last stanza?

~stanza in question~

And round that early-laurelled head
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
And find withered on its curls
The garland briefer than a girl's

I am doing a thesis presentation on this poem, and I was having trouble deciphering this stanza.
And I was hoping we could spark a debate and tear this stanza apart to better get its meaning.

justivy03 - / 2,366 607  
Apr 15, 2015   #7
The last part of the poem relates to how somebody would rise from being down to fight again and live free.
It tells readers that underneath it all and whatever happens there's a bright light and a new tomorrow will come with greater strength, ready to conquer whats out there.

I also makes readers think positively and hope for the best at all times.

'till then, Cheers!!!

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