ENG201Y (L5101 – Percy): Essay #2


Due:             22 January 2003, at 6:10 pm.

Length:         no shorter than 4 typed pages (1000 words)

Handing in:    If not to me in class, then to the porter at Wetmore Hall, New College. It is your responsibility to get it date-stamped!

Weight:         Worth 10 % of final mark.

Late penalty: 2% per working day (Monday through Friday inclusive), to a maximum of 2 weeks/20%. Not accepted thereafter without medical/registrar-supported documentation.


General instructions


This time, you’ll be making a case for your (clear, coherent, complex) interpretation of one poem, supporting your argument with points about the poem’s

·         figurative language (e.g., simile, metaphor, symbolism, personification, etc.)

·         imagery (e.g, visual, aural, olfactory, thermal, etc.)


The balance of points will depend upon the poem that you’ve chosen.





You can review terminology and concepts relating to figurative language in Adams. Don’t forget handbooks like


Abrams, M.H. “Figurative language” and “Imagery.” A Glossary of Literary Terms. 7th ed. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace, 1999.

[PN 41 A184 at VIC and SMC; PN 44.5 A2 at ROBA and TRIN. Check Ref sections first. There are lots of earlier editions too!].


There are also some very helpful guides to writing not only literary essays, but writing essays on topics like figurative language and imagery. Try different editions of


Roberts, Edgar V. “Writing about imagery: the work’s link to the senses,” and “Writing about metaphor and simile: a source of depth and range in literature.” In Writing Themes about Literature. 7th ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1991.

[PE 1408 R593 in ROBA, VIC, UNIV, etc. Later editions are called Writing about literature.]


Barnet, Sylvan. “Writing about poetry.” In A Short Guide to Writing about Literature. 7th ed. New York: HarperCollins, 1996.

[PE 1479 C7 B3 at TRIN, UNIV; PN 81 B35 at ROBA, VIC.]


Poems: choose from

          Blake, “The Little Black Boy” (673)

          Blake, “London” (681)

          Blake, “The Tyger” (680)

          Coleridge, “Kubla Khan, or a vision in a dream. A fragment.” (741)

          Dickinson, “A Clock stopped-“ (1014)

          Keats, “La Belle Dame sans Merci” (842)

          Keats, “Ode to a Nightingale” (845)

          Poe, “The City in the Sea” (880)

          Poe, “The Raven” (881)

          Smart, from Jubilate Agno (625)

          Tennyson, “The Lady of Shalott” (888)

          Wordsworth, from The Prelude (714)