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ADVANCED LEVEL POEMS CRITICAL APPRECIATION


EAT MORE by Joe Corrie
Eat more fruit, the slogan say
More fish, more beef, more bread
But I’m on unemployment pay
My third year now and wed.

And also I wonder when I see
The slogan when I pass
The only one that would suit me
Eat more bloody grass.

CRITICAL CRITICISM
i.        Who speaks in the poem?
ü  The one who speaks in this poem is the active persona who is directly affected by unemployment and he is complaining about eating balanced diet while he cannot afford it due to his poor financial position.
ii.      What is the tone/mood/attitude of the speaker?
ü  The persona’s tone/mood/attitude is sadness/angry (anger) and seriousness because he is complaining on the situation of unemployment that makes him to fail to afford eating balanced diet.
iii.    How the poem is organized (structured)?
ü  The poem is organized into two stanzas with four verses in each stanza.
iv.    Comment on the Language use
ü  The Language used in a poem is ordinary or standard Language because it uses the common words. Also it follows the grammatical rules like punctuation.
However, there is the use of figurative language which include the following;
o   Imagery; this can be depicted by the description of the slogan as well the diet contents specifically in the first stanza.
o   Figures of speech; there is a lot of figures of speech depicted in this poem, and they include;
*      Symbolism e.g. “bloody grass” to symbolize the lower class (poor) and “fish, beef and bread” to symbolize the upper class in the society (rich) as well as the balanced diet.
*      Personification; this is vividly at the first verse of the first stanza as the poet says;
“Eat more fruit, the slogan says
More fish, more beef, more bread”
v.      What is the content/general idea/topic of the poem?
ü  The general idea/content of the poem is unemployment which results to poverty, exploitation, protest, conflict etc.
vi.    What are the poetic features used in this poem?
ü  Different poetic features used in this poem, they include the following;
o   Rhyme; the rhymes used are; “abab” rhyming scheme in the in the first stanza and “cdcd” rhymes in the second stanza/last stanza.
o   Repetition of similar sounds e.g.
*      Alliteration “m” and “b” in the second verse of the first stanza
More fish, more beef, more bread
*      Reiteration;eat, more, slogan.
*      Consonance; e.g. “d” in the second and fourth stanza of the first stanza;
                     “Eat more fruit, the slogan say
More fish, more beef, more bread
But I’m on unemployment pay
My third year now and wed.”
o   Assonance;  this is seen in the second verse of the first stanza as shown below;
                     “Eat more fruit, the slogan say
                                                         More fish, more beef, more bread
                     -------------------------------------- ”

vii.  What is the type of this poem?
ü  It is a lyric poem which is short and expresses strong feelings/ideas of a persona.
viii.Is the poem relevant to your contemporary society?
ü  The poem is so relevant to our contemporary society as in most cases people in power insist the implementation of different slogans without even considering their affordability to the common people.








IF WE MUST DIE By Claude Mckay
If we must die, let it not be like hogs,
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursed lot.
If we must die-oh let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain: Then even the monster we defy,
Shall be constrained to honour us though dead!
Oh Kinsmen! We must meet the common foe;
Though outnumbered, let us show our brave,
And for their thousand blows, one death blow,
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we’ll face the murderous cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying but fighting back.

CRITICAL CRITICISM
i.        What is the general content/theme of this poem?
ü  The general idea/content of this poem is an encouragement about dying with a purpose like while struggling rather than waiting for death like animals/hogs.
ii.      Who is the persona in this poem?
ü  The persona in this poem is among those members who are oppressed by the ruling class (slave masters) as he expresses his strong feelings of encouragement. He likes dying in the process of fighting back the oppressors as the condition he assumes to be as even the title of the poem is a conditional or conditional clause.
iii.    What is the type of this poem?
ü  The type of this poem is a lyric poem specifically a sonnet that is used as a didactic as it gives instructions on what should be done by the oppressed so as to overcome the situation of being penned as animals/hogs.
iv.    What is the tone/mood/attitude of the persona in this poem?
ü  The tone/mood/attitude of the persona in this poem is serious as he encourages his fellow oppressed members to fight back seriously so as to overcome the miserable condition they are in.
v.      How is this poem structured/formed?
ü  The structure of this poem is formal (traditional one) in an iambic pentameter with four stanzas using the quatrain style (four verses) in the first three stanzas and couplet (two verses) in the fourth/last stanza.
vi.    Comment on the Language use in this poem.
ü  The poet uses almost Standard English language as it is grammatically correct though there is a good choice of words which acquire additional meanings. Also barbarism is depicted due to the use of a word accursed which is found at the fourth verse of the first stanza as the persona says;
                                       “If we must die, let it not be like hogs,
 Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursed lot.”
vii.  What are the poetic devices/features found in this poem?
ü  Different poetic devices has been used in this poem and they include the following;
o   Rhythm has been depicted throughout the poem. Additionally, rhymingschemes are used as the poem is rhymed by “abab” in the first stanza, “cdcd” in the second stanza, “efef” and “gg” in the fourth/last stanza.
o   Repetition of similar sounds which include;
*      Consonance; this is vividly in the first stanza as consonant sounds like “s” and “t” are repeated at the end of the verses as;
“If we must die, let it not be like hogs,
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursed lot.”
*      Reiteration for example the word “if” has been repeated several times throughout the poem.
Parallelismfor example the repetition of a phrase “if we must die” in the first verse of the first stanza and in the first verse of the second stanza, where a persona says;
                                             If we must die-let it nit be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot
                                               ----------------------------------------------
If we must die-oh let us nobly die!
*      Alliteration
Additionally, different figures of speech are used in this poem, some of which are as discussed below;
o   Simile; this has been used where a persona tries to compare their death with that of dogs. It is evident in the first verse of the first stanza as a persona says;
                                     “If we must die, let it not be likehogs,
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursed lot.”












BALLAD OF THE LANDLORD by Langston Hughes
Landlord, Landlord
My roof has sprung a leak
Don’t you remember I told you about it
Way last week?
Landlord, Landlord
These steps is broken down
When you come up yourself
It’s a wonder you don’t fall down

Ten bucks you say I owe you?
Ten bucks you say is due?
Well, that’s ten bucks more n I’ll pay you
Till you fix this house up new.

What? You gonna get eviction order
You gonna cut-off my head?
You gonna take my furniture and
Throw it in the street?

Un-huh! You talking high and mighty
Talk on-till you get through
You won’t gonna be able to say a word
If I land my fist on you.

Police! Police!
Come and get this man!
He’s trying to ruin the government
And overturn the land.

Copper’s whistle!
Patrol ball!
Arrest.
Princit station
Iron cell.

Headlines in press:
Man threatens landlord
Tenant held no bail
Judge gives Negro 90 days in county jail.
CRITICAL CRITICISM
i.        What is the general content/theme of this poem?
ü  The poem is talking about racial prejudices and social injustices in American society, perhaps.
ii.      To what type is this poem belongs?
ü  The type of the poem is a ballad as it involves more than one self in conversation, i.e. conversation between the tenant and the Landlord.
iii.    What is the tone/mood/attitude of the persona?
ü   The tone/mood/attitude of the persona is harsh because of his anger and hatred to the/towards the landlord. It is also a serious tone because of the situation the Negro face.
iv.    Who speaks in this poem?
ü  The persona/speaker in this poem is the one who is directly affected by the existing miseries in his society, i.e. social injustices and racial prejudices as the poem suggests.
v.      Comment on the poetic devices/features used in this poem.
ü  Different poetic devices has been employed in this poem and they include the following;
                                                                                                           
o   Rhetorical query for example in the fourth stanza where the tenant asks;

“What? You gonna get eviction order
You gonna cut-off my head?
You gonna take my furniture and
 Throw it in the street?
o   Repetition of sounds including;
*      Parallelism like the use of a phrase “ten bucks” in the third stanza.
*      Reiterationas words like Landlord,gonna and police are repeated several times throughout the poem.
*      Alliteration for example the use of consonant “L” in the first and second stanza where a persona sys;
                                                            Landlord, landlord
My roof has sprung a leak
 And “g” in the fourth stanza where a persona says;
              “What? You gonnaget eviction order
                You gonna cut-off my head?
*      Consonance e.g. constant sounds like “k” in the first stanza as thetenant says;

                                                “Landlord, Landlord
My roof has sprung a leak
Don’t you remember I told you about it
Way last week?
Also the constant sound “n” in the second stanza where a tenant adds;

                                                             “Landlord, Landlord
These steps is broken down
When you come up yourself
It’s a wonder you don’t fall down

*      Rhythm also can be detected throughout the poem.

vi.    Comment on the language use in this poem.
ü  The language (diction) used in the poem is almost colloquial language/informal and it is spoken by the lower/common people like Negroes in USA, it is evidently by the use of informal words like gonnaand ungrammatical sentences. Also there is a little use of formal language and it is used by the Landlord in the poem to represent the people of upper class. For example in the seventh stanza where the Landlord says;
                                 “Police! Police!
Come and get this man!
He’s trying to ruin the government
And overturn the land”.
This stanza is grammatically correct compared to the previous one spoken by the tenant.













MERRY-GO-ROUND by Langston Hughes
Coloured child at Carnival,
Where is the Jim Crow section,
On this Merry-go-round,
Mister, cause I want to ride?
Down south where I come from,
White and coloured,
Can’t sit side by side,
Down south on the train.
There is a Jim-crow car,
On the bus we’re put in the back,
But there ain’t no back,
To a Merry-go-round!
Where is the horse
For a kid that’s black!

CRITICAL CRITICISM
i.        What is the type of this poem?
ü  This poem belongs to sonnet category of poem as it contains fourteen free verses.
ii.      Who speaks in this poem?
ü  The persona who speaks in this poem is the one who might be directly affected by the existing situation of racial discrimination and segregation which was practiced in American society and South Africa in the previous days.
iii.    What is the topic of discussion in this poem?
ü  The main idea/topic of discussion in this poem is about racial discrimination and segregation in the former American and South African society where black people were considered as the inferior class all over the world.
iv.    What is the tone of the persona?
ü  The tone of the persona is almost bitter due to the existing situation. Also it is as sadness that’s why he/she wants to ride back where he/she comes from.
v.      Comment on the poetic features used in this poem.
ü  Various poetic features have been employed in this poem and they include the following;
o   Repetition of  sounds such as;
*      Alliterationsuch as the use of  “c” in the first verse of the first stanza where a persona asserts;
                Coloured child at Carnival,
Where is the Jim Crow section,
On this Merry-go-round,
Mister, cause I want to ride?
 And “b” in the third verse of the fourth/last stanza as a persona says;
But there ain’t no back,
To a Merry-go-round!
Where is the horse
For a kid that’s black!
*      Assonance e.g. “I” in the second verse of the first stanza where the persona says;
            “Coloured child at Carnival,
Where is the Jim Crow section,
On this Merry-go-round,
Mister, cause I want to ride?
*      Consonance e.g. “d” and “k”


vi.    Comment on the language used in this poem.
ü  The language/diction employed in this poem is almost ordinary Standard English language due to the use of grammatical rules, however there is a little use of contractions. Additionally, there is a little use of figurative Language as there is;
o   Symbolism such as’
*      Merry-go-round” to symbolize an action of doing away with racial segregation.
*      Jim-crow to symbolize the neglected class of blacks.












YOUR PAIN by Armando Guebuza
Your pain
Yet more my pain
Shall suffocate oppression

Your eyes
Yet more my eyes
Shall be speaking of revolt

Your scars
Yet more my scars
Will be remembering the whip

My hands
Yet more your hands
Will be lifted fully armed

My strength
Yet more your strength
Shall overcome imperialism

My blood
 Yet more your blood
Shall irrigate our victory.


CRITICAL CRITICISM
i.        What is the central theme of this poem?
ü  The central theme of this poem may be the importance of unity in the struggle for independence/freedom against imperialism and colonialism with its features/elements.
ii.      What type of poem is this poem?
ü  The type of this poem is a lyrical one used as a didactic to give instructions on what is to be done in order to overcome the imperialist injustices.
iii.    Who speaks in this poem?
ü  The one who speaks in this poem is a person who is among the victimized individuals in his society who are suffering under miserable conditions of humiliation, exploitation as well as oppression.
iv.    Comment on the tone of a persona in this poem
ü  The tone of the speaker is almost encouraging as the persona encouraging for unity in their struggle for freedom. Also, it is a sad/anger tone as it expresses the people’s sufferings in the persona’s society.

v.      Comment on the language manipulation in this poem.
ü  The language manipulated in this poem is almost Standard English as it obeys most of the grammatical rules (features).
Additionally, the poet also has employed various figures of speech and some of them are discussed below;
o   Symbolism such as;
*      Strength/hands to symbolize unity
*      Scars to symbolize humiliation and injuries incurred.
*      Blood to symbolize sacrifice/death
*      Eyes to symbolize consciousness/sight
o   Personification for instance in the second stanza where a persona asserts;
                   “Your eyes
Yet more my eyes
Shall be speaking of revolt”
vi.    Comment on the structure of this poem.
ü  This poem is structured into six stanzas which are composed of three verses (triplet) per each.
vii.  What are the poetic features found in this poem?
ü  the poetic features found in this poem include the following;
o   Repetition of sounds like;
*      Alliteration
*      Reiteration
*      Parallelism

1 Comments

  1. iam geting confusion on the type of poem and type of poetry.
    where can i use modern or tradional and where to use example sonnet, ballad, narrative etc
    can i get help

    ReplyDelete

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