Theses Set #1

Head of English – The unpassionate appreciation of literature is explicit in this poem with Duffy’s use of an apathetic tone and caesuras.

Words of Absolution– Duffy uses biblical allusions and rhetoric questions to expose the demonizarion of one’s sexuality.

Debt – Visual imagery and symbolism to display the excessive desire for material wealth.

The Dolphins – Duffy incorporates strictly structured sestets and metaphors to exemplify the abuse of animals for human entertainment.

Recognition – Tactical imagery and visual imagery in this poem show the message of the inevitable regret with an unappreciative view on life.

Theses Set #1

“Originally” Thesis and Carol Ann Duffy Article Summary

Thesis for Originally

Carol Ann Duffy’s poem Originally incorporates ambiguity and metaphors to entail the adversity of the assimilation of immigrants.


Article Summary

Carolyn Ann Duffy is Britain’s first female and openly gay Poet Laureate, the fact which begins this mini biography by TIME. Her role is to write poems for royal and state occasions. This job has never been given to a women as far back as the 1850’s. Duffy was reluctant to accept the opening, until her daughter convinced her to after hearing the aforementioned fact regarding female Poet Laureates. Duffy currently donates her $8,500 salary to the Poetry Society to fund the yearly prize for best published collection.

“Originally” Thesis and Carol Ann Duffy Article Summary

Poetry Chat — Peer-Evaluation

Lani (Debt):

Effective point:

Lani’s commentary on Duffy’s Debt effectively outlined the big idea of the poem, which is the weight material wealth has on the ambitions of an individual. He was able to support this big idea with analysing several lines from the poem. For example, he describes the first few lines of the third stanza, stating that the ‘wallpaper men in suits’ represent our omnipresent greed for more.

Ineffective point:

On the other hand, Lani did not identify the significance of poetic devices used by Duffy to give deeper meaning to the context of the poem.


Poetry Chat — Peer-Evaluation

D.I.Y. Activity

Poem: Selling Manhattan

Thesis: Duffy utilizes personnification of various natural elements of the Earth and the symbolism of nature to imply the exploitation of the Earth’s resources.

Setting: The poem happens after 1626, after the “purchase” of the island of Manhattan. This poem was published on January 1, 1987.

Characters: The protagonist of the poem is an indigenous person who lived in what is known now as New York. Their deep connection with nature is seen through their role as a messenger between the Earth’s elements and the European colonizers, of which are the antagonists.

Action: The poem begins with the trade where the Dutch had traded $24 worth of manufactured goods for the land of Manhatten from the Canarsee tribe. After the revelation of the intentions of the Dutch, one member from the tribe reflects of the contrasts that their morality and that of the colonizers have. The person describes what they think the reaction of the Earth is towards their exploitation. The poem closes with the tribe member fleeing from the colonized land into the forest.

Style: Duffy uses personnification(5,10,26-28) and symbolism(24,25), as well as a simile(22-24), hyperbole(6-7), rhetorical question(20-21), imagery(14), amplification(25), situational irony(3), and a juxtaposition(19).

Ideas: Duffy is suggesting that colonialism has an unfavourable effect on the Earth. Colonization takes from the Earth, and does not benefit it whatsoever. Expressing this idea through the narration of an indigenous person is effective as these people respected the Earth’s resources as well as made nature sacred. The poem shows colonizers as greedy, having no consideration of the impact of the steps to their desires has on the environment.

A) 5 observations: [1] “Injun” (Duffy 1): Christopher Columbus is known for confusing North America with India in 1492, so how is that over 100 years later, the people who inhabited the land were still mistakenly referred to as indians? [2] “You have made me drunk, drowned out the world’s slow truth with rapid lies” (6-7). The colonizers intoxicated the indigenous people with alcohol to trick their perceptions of their settlements as being harmful to the Earth. [3] “Trust your dreams. No good will come of this” (15). The narrator is losing faith in the state of the planet, that they cling to their dreams to escape the truth of reality. [4] “Loss holds the silence of great stones” (24). This sentence of simple words creates a complex meaning in a catastrophe. This phrase in relation to the context of the poem signifies that the Earth loses it underappreciated beatuty when it is used for personal gain. [5] “I will live in the ghost of grasshopper and buffalo” (25). The tribe member promises they will exist in nature spiriually when they die.

B) Fringe note: “…twenty-four bucks’ worth of glass beads, gaudy cloth” (1-2). How would the colonizer have measured the worth of manufactured goods if the dollar had not existed yet? The goods they traded with the indigenous people for land had different amounts of worth to either side of the trade. The colonizer found them worthless as they were mass-produced, while the native people found value in them as they were rare in their perspective. The barter system of their time would not have exact values of traded goods.

C) One question: Are humans entitled to use the Earth as they please?

D) Two features/lines to be read aloud: “I sing with true love for the land, / dawn chant, the song of sunset, starlight psalm” (13-14). “I will live in the ghost of grasshopper and buffalo” (25).

D.I.Y. Activity

Literary Quiz reaction

After doing the quiz on literary features today, I think I can safely say I got these devices sturdily installed within my brain. But, there was a question that stumped me. One of first questions asks for the definition of the literary feature chiasmus, which I thought said Christmas at first. Luckily, this quiz was completely multiple choice, so all I had to do was process of elimination to get the correct answer. The other three given definitions I fortunately knew what feature they were defining. I now can know that chiasmus is a figure of speech revolving a reversal.


Literary Quiz reaction

Literary Features Examples and Commentating on Beyonce’s music video

Imagery – “And the saddest thing was she knew about what set off her explosions, but each time she managed to light a match, it had persistently been blown out.” (Esquivel 88) [LWFC]

Suspension of Disbelief – In Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind, Grenouille is physically abused by other children to the brink of death, but he survives these gruesome acts of violence.

Juxtaposition – The treatment of both Medea and Jason are vastly contrasted in Euripides’ Medea.

Bildungsroman (Coming-of-Age) – Korra in the Legend of Korra series goes through many experiences as she takes the role of the Avatar: a person who possesses the ability to manipulate organic elements of earth, water, fire, and wind. She faces the reality of having a significant role in her world, which affects her physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Anthropomorphism – All the toys within the Toy Story universe come to life when no humans are in sight.

Irony – In The Lego Movie, Lucy thinks Emmett is acting like a normal person to disguise his identity as the Special, but he really acts ordinary. (Dramatic Irony)

Metaphor – “She was literally like water for chocolate!” (Esquivel 113) This metaphor represents how Tita was burning up like how boiling water is mixed with chocolate to make hot chocolate.


Commentary on Beyonce’s Formation music video

Through a Post-Colonial Lens

The United States has marginalised its black population for centuries, which has gradually lead to the BlackLivesMatter movement to universally publicize the racism that Black people perpetually face, as well to create a safe space for Black people to express themselves with excellence. Beyonce’s Formation focuses on one of the most tragic catastrophes that has put the community of Black people in New Orleans under the hood: hurricane Katrina. The music video starts with an interlude from the late social media celebrity Messy Mya (born Anthony Barre): “What happened at the New Wil’ins?” (What happened after New Orleans?) which introduces the video’s message of bringing awareness to the injustice against Black people post-Katrina. Thousands of Black lives have fallen to the hands of the police unfairly, which did not gain international awareness until the murder of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson and the controversy that arose between the shooting on August 9, 2014 and its one-year anniversary. Beyonce submerging underwater on top of a police car is imagery symbolising the hardships that Black Americans must live through against the systematic oppression of white supremacy.

Through a Feminist Lens

The chorus to Formation has the lyric “okay, ladies, now let’s get in formation,” which is accompany with Beyonce dancing in synchronisation with groups of Black women. Black women are objectified, invalidated, and antagonized throughout many societies. Beyonce’s daughter, Blue Ivy, has even been discriminated for wearing her natural hair, to the point that people created a petition for her to comb her hair. This is why it is seen among Black women to act as moral support for each other, because they have to work together in order to be successful. Beyonce’s song serves as a Black anthem, not only for power, but also Black body-positivity, seen in the lyrics “I like my baby heir with baby hair and afros, I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils.”


Literary Features Examples and Commentating on Beyonce’s music video

Critical Lenses Summaries

1) Psychoanalytic Criticism, Jungian Criticism(1930s-present)

Sigmund Freud theorizes that we have a system that processes our behaviour based on desires and past experiences. In our mind, we have an id, location of our desires, an ego, which battles against our id, and a superego, which serves as judgement between the other two areas. The events of our past play a role in how we react to events in the present. In relation to literature, this criticism is used to interpret the used concepts in a text to develop more understanding of the work. Psychoanalytic criticism gives a perspective of why someone does something by looking at their unconscious.

2) Marxist Criticism (1930s-present)

Karl Marx proposes that our socioeconomic system drives our desires. We are convinced to proceed with an action not for the experience, but the reward that accompanies it. Our position in the class hierarchy also serves as a factor in how we act. Society goes through a cycle of contradiction, tension, and revolution as it evolves. These three aspects are clearly seen in the media, especially literature.

3) Post-Colonial Criticism (1990s-present)

Post-colonial criticism focuses on texts created by those associated with colonization. It exposes the negative impacts that European colonialism had on all the societies it had conquered. Western history and literary canon dominants knowledge making, and western society is centralized, alienating all other societies and degrading them as less significant. Race, religion, class, gender, sexual orientation, cultural beliefs, and/or customs are often indicators of how characters within a text a categorized and segregated. It is important when analyzing a text how it shapes our perception of a character and how they are glorified or demonized.

4) Feminist Criticism (1960s-present)

Feminist criticism states that women are oppressed economically, politically, socially, and psychologically. This affects how literature is analyzed due to the different treatment of women in society and how it can be reflected in many texts. It it significant to how a person’s levels of masculinity and femininity alters how they are perceived to others. Gender inequality is transparent in western civilization as it was built on a patriarchal ideology. Misogyny is a major issue in all forms of media.

Critical Lenses Summaries