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Analyzing Imagery in Poetry

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Using all that you have learned thus far, analyze how the imagery used in the following poems advances the themes of the poets and convey meaning:

- "The Times They Are a-Changin" by Bob Dylan
- "Bonny Barbara Allen " by Anonymous
- "Ex-Basketball Player" by John Updike
- "Mother to Son" by Langston Hughes
- "Ballad of the Landlord"
- "Perfect Dress by Marisa de los Santos
- "Beat! Beat! Drums!" by Walt Whitman
- "Recuerdo" by Edna St. Vincent Milay

Write 3-4 paragraphs explaining how the poets use imagery to advance their themes and convey meaning about life.

- Support your position with evidence from the poems
- Provide cited evidence from the poems themselves.

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Solution Preview

You were asked to review the poems listed and identify their themes based on the imagery expressed. I have listed each of the poems below with examples of imagery and the overarching themes of each piece. I hope this is helpful to you.

Dr. B.

- "The Times They Are a-Changin" by Bob Dylan
water imagery ("sink like a stone")--theme: If we do not adjust to our surroundings then we will not be successful in a future that demands flexibility and change.
writing imagery ("Come writers and critics Who prophesize with your ...

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"My Papa's Waltz" by Roethke

-Read "My Papa's Waltz" of Roethke at least twice and underline at least five of the most vivid words--nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. If you're not sure what a word means--like countenance--then define it in order to discover its denotations. Then list all of the connotations you can think of for each word. What images, moods, and associations do you have for each word? For example, we might work with the term bald eagle this way:
bald eagle denotation: a bird of prey native to North America which weighs between 7 and 14 pounds, has an average 30-year life span, and lives primarily on fish.
bald eagle connotations: strength, courage, bravery, America, loyalty, fierceness, determination, post office, flight, freedom, soaring
-Review your lists of connotations and decide what they may suggest to you about this poem. How do they add to--or confuse--its meaning? Write what you've discovered and include your list of connotation

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