Hibbison's Grade-Raising Hint: It would be wise to READ all four
poems for this unit, even though you will be responding to only two.
Whichever track you take will require that you deal with a sonnet, and the
"Silken Tent" quiz may well illuminate ways of handling Sonnet 116--and vice
versa. Similarly, the imagery in "Birches" may well help you visualize
the situation in "Death of the Ball Turret Gunner"--and maybe vice
versa--since visualizing is crucial to understanding each of these poems.
You STILL have to QUOTE PHRASES to
support your statements about the poem or essay in this poetry unit and in
the final essay, just as you did for the "Hills" essay. No quotations = no
credit for the assignment.
A POEM is not an ESSAY. Regarding "Birches," Frost wrote
the poem called "Birches"; a student wrote her essay about it, according to
a pre-set outline that I gave to the class for a "recommendation essay."
Your task for "Birches" (since you are all essay writers, too) is to use
your understanding of the poem and of essay writing methods to assess how
good a job the student did representing her ideas about the essay.
|Advanced: For a total of up to 50
points, respond to Sonnet 116 by
William Shakespeare AND to "Birches" by Robert Frost by email
Include a copy of the question with your answer. (A total of
about 2 pages, 40 lines or so, is not unusual for this unit.)
- Directed at getting students to see how the craftsmanship of a
poem enhances its theme, the module on
Shakespeare's Sonnet 116 includes Real Player audio files for
variant readings of the poem, as well as variant readings of selected
lines. But there is much, much more in this overview of how to read a
- What to do:
Here is the collection of questions first
published with this module. I have added a "level of
difficulty" to each question--advanced for the most
challenging, intermediate for somewhat challenging tasks, and
just interesting for tasks that still call for thinking but
shouldn't be as difficult to handle as those in the other
- Work through the module, studying all or most of the pages
before selecting ONE of the questions to answer.
- Email me the QUESTION and your ANSWER, preferably before the
- Robert Frost's poem, "Birches," celebrates soaring and returning
safely to earth. See what one
student makes of this poem, drawing from all of the facets of
looking at a poem offered by "New Criticism" (which was "new" about 80
|Beginner: Respond to "The Death
of the Ball Turret Gunner" in the Litonline introduction to poetry
module and take a 25-question, multi-media, multiple-choice quiz on
Robert Frost's poem, "The Silken Tent."
- Study the Understanding
Poetry module that uses a short poem, "The Death of the
Ball-Turret Gunner," to show how compressed a poem can be. It is
essential to study the glossary and the pages of
explanation about bombers in WW2. These pages show various
photos of a "ball turret" and a photo of the ground-based
anti-aircraft guns that shot exploding shells, known as "flak."
This background will help you understand the literal side of the poem,
which can be read by clicking the little photo of a B-17 at the top of
each page in the module.
- Answer ONE of the numbered questions on
list linked from the sitemap (look for the typing hand logo).
Some questions have multiple parts; the later questions are quite
philosophical and require you to draw as much information from real
life as from the poem.
Writing 1/2 to 1 page is typical for this task.
- Students should work through
the multimedia, 25-question,
multiple-choice quiz regarding Robert Frost's sonnet, "The Silken
Tent," which is based on patterns of sound and unsound answers
assembled from a few years' of student responses to the items as
open-ended questions. The quiz stresses how the craft of a poem
enhances its theme. (suggested value: 2 points per question. You can
write brief explanations for
any answers, but you must at least write explanations for your answers for