English 219: Sept. 15 Diction, Tone, Image My goals for you: By the end of the semester, you should: Be unafraid of poetry; Be able to approach an unfamiliar poem with confidence; Have mastered the set of terms commonly used in poetry criticism; Have studied a variety of important poems written in English; Be familiar with a wide range of poetic forms, their demands, their histories; Know well a handful of poems I?ve singled out for special attention, the Twelve Poems. ?In reading we must become aware of what we write unconsciously in our reading.? --Roland Barthes Outline of topics in the analysis of poetry: Diction Word choice: Multiple meanings Word origins/ history of language Networks of significance Grammar Punctuation Word order Tone Speaker Audience Voice and/or Voices Shifts within the poem Image Metaphors, metaphorical logic Diction Words have multiple meanings, which are often teased out and exploited in poetry; Words have a history; they shift meaning across time; A poet?s diction, or word-choice, ramifies across the space of a poem, creating networks of significance. How to find the Oxford English Dictionary online: http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/ Use of a thesaurus: in Word processing software With online tools such as http://thesaurus.reference.com/ Diction: A writer or a speaker?s distinctive vocabulary, word choices, style of expression; Often described in terms of ?register? -- a subset of a language used for specific purposes or in a particular social setting. Tone: the attitudes toward the subject or audience of a literary work, often described in terms of the speaker?s sense of his or her situation. A poem?s attitude toward its subject or audience is marked in a number of ways: Word choice (Diction) Inflection: stress patterns, pitch changes Meter (a way of marking stress, emphasis) Punctuation Set of expectations established by the poem
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