Fourth Assignment

Choose one of the two options below and write a short essay (at least three full pages and no more than five full pages) in response to the option. For all options, discuss your findings and reflect upon the problems inherent in the approach you are using.

Your essay does not need an introduction, conclusion, thesis statement, or list of works cited (unless you do happen to use other sources to help you with the essay). The essay must be well-written and well-organized.


Musical scansion

Choose a poem and write out a musical scansion of at least eight consecutive lines of the poem. Discuss your decisions in performing the musical scansion and the problems inherent in this approach. Include your scansion (in addition to the essay’s page count). What does this approach reveal about the poem?

For your musical scansion, choose one poem from the following: any one of Shakespeare’s sonnets (from RPO), any one of the Sonnets from the Portuguese (from RPO), Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” (from RPO), or Keats’s “On Seeing the Elgin Marbles” (from RPO).


Phonemic analysis

Using one of the Shakespeare sonnets available on the website (that is, 2, 18, 19, 73, or 109, but not 116) or Browning’s “My Last Duchess” or Tennyson’s “Ulysses”, write a short essay (at least two full pages and no more than five full pages) containing an analysis of the phonemic content of the poem. You should look at rhymes, alliteration, assonance, and any general phonemic repetitions. You should also look at the distribution, both horizontally and vertically, of phonemes within the same phonemic groups. Try to characterize the use of phonemes and phoneme groups within the poem. Try to characterize any phonemic progressions within the poem: such as a progression from plosive-heavy lines at the beginning to fricative-heavy lines at the end.

You may spend up to two pages of the essay relating your findings on the phonemic analysis to the content of the poem. Try to be as concrete as possible with your interpretive statements.

Questions to help you which you do not have to answer but can answer in the essay: What patterns can you detect in the poem? What generalizations can you make about the use of particular phonemic groups in relation to the semantic content of the poem? What are the challenges and/or shortcomings of this type of analysis?