What are the main things I need to look out for when analysing poetry?

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It may be helpful to compile a checklist when answering questions of this type. I would say the main things you need to look out for when analysing poetry are:

 

 

Structure: is it uniform? Is there anything unusual about it that stands out? Does this poem rhyme? 

 

Theme: the idea that is central to the poem. For example if the poem is from the perspective of a lady writing about the death of her husband the theme may be grief/loneliness/loss.

 

Imagery: these are devices like similes, metaphors, words that appeal to your senses (touch, taste, smell etc.)

 

Language: here you need to analyse device such as alliteration, assonance, punctuation etc.

 

Tone: can you work out the mood of the poem? If we use the same example as earlier, about the lady writing about the death of her husband, the tone could be melancholy or negative

 

Subject: this is probably the most obvious one, you need to be able to analyse the poetry and work out what the poem is telling you: what is it about on a superficial level?

Emily M. A Level English Literature tutor, GCSE English Literature tu...

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