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analyzing a literary poem

How would I undertake an evaluation of a literary poem, analysing in particular its theme, mood, tone, form and style using an example?

Example poem is "Four of the Belt"

Jenkins, all too clearly it is time
For some ritual physical humiliation
And if you cry, boy, you will prove
What I suspect, you are not a man.

As they say, Jenkins, this hurts me
More than it hurts you. But I show you
I am a man; by doing this to you.

When you are a man, Jenkins, you may hear
That physical humiliation and ritual
Are concerned with strange adult matters
- like rape, or masochistic fantasies.

You will not accept such stories.
Rather, you will recall with pride,
Perhaps even affection, the day when I,
Mr Johnstone, summoned you before me,
And gave you four of the belt

Like this. And this. And this. And this.


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Before we analyze a literary poem, we need to be sure we understand what a theme, mood, tone, form and style is in literary poems. A theme is a unifying idea that is a recurrent element in literary work. A mood is the verb inflections that express how the action or state is conceived by the speaker. The tone is a pitch or change in pitch of the voice that serves to distinguish words in tonal languages. Form is the visual appearance of the poem. Now that we know what each of these mean, we can ...

Solution Summary

Ideas for analyzing a literary poem are given.