BORED myopia by benbenzhou

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BORED myopia

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									ELA 20                             Name:

     Exploring Poetry:
    Reading & Responding
Read each of the poems in this booklet and respond to the questions that
follow. The questions are designed to get you ready for the unit quiz you
will write on March 26, as well as prepare you for the poetry section on
your final exam. These will also give you an idea of what to expect
regarding poetry in ELA 30.

You will hand in this completed booklet for a quality and completion grade
on March 26, before you write the unit quiz.
ELA 20                                     Name:

Margaret Atwood

All those times I was bored
out of my mind. Holding the log
while he sawed it. Holding
the string while he measured, boards,
distances between things, or pounded                       5
stakes into the ground for rows and rows
of lettuces and beets, which I then (bored)
weeded. Or sat in the back
of the car, or sat still in boats,
sat, sat, while at the prow, stern, wheel                  10
he drove, steered, paddled. It
wasn't even boredom, it was looking,
looking hard and up close at the small
details. Myopia. The worn gunwales,
the intricate twill of the seat                            15
cover. The acid crumbs of loam, the granular
pink rock, its igneous veins, the sea-fans
of dry moss, the blackish and then the graying
bristles on the back of his neck.
Sometimes he would whistle, sometimes                      20
I would. The boring rhythm of doing
things over and over, carrying
the wood, drying
the dishes. Such minutiae. It's what
the animals spend most of their time at,                   25
ferrying the sand, grain by grain, from their tunnels,
shuffling the leaves in their burrows. He pointed
such things out, and I would look
at the whorled texture of his square finger, earth under
the nail. Why do I remember it as sunnier                  30
all the time then, although it more often
rained, and more birdsong?
I could hardly wait to get
the hell out of there to
anywhere else. Perhaps though                              35
boredom is happier. It is for dogs or
groundhogs. Now I wouldn't be bored.
Now I would know too much.
Now I would know.
ELA 20                                    Name:

Response Questions for “Bored” by Margaret Atwood

   1. Identify at least three (3) details in the poem that reinforce the speaker’s feeling of

   2. The idea of “Myopia.” introduced in line14 and continued in lines 15-16 with “the
      intricate twill of the seat / cover” is further reflected best in the words
          a. “Sometimes he would whistle sometimes / I would” (20-21).
          b. “The boring rhythm of doing / things over and over, carrying / the wood,
              drying / the dishes” (21-24).
          c. “I would look at / the whorled texture of his squared finger, earth under /
              the nail” (28-30).
          d. “Why do I remember it as sunnier / all the time then, although it more
              often / rained, and more birdsong?” (30-32).

   3. Explain why you chose the response you did for number 2.

   4. What does the speaker mean by saying, “Now I would know too much. / Now I
      would know.”? (Note: These final lines of the poem reveal the poet’s purpose in
      writing the poem so it’s important to discern their meaning.)

   5. Myopia can be defined as “a lack of foresight” or “narrow-mindedness”. Explain
      why the poet’s choice of this particular word is appropriate when considering the
      main idea of the poem.
ELA 20                                    Name:

E.A. Robinson

Whenever Richard Cory went downtown
      We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
      Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
        And he was always human when he talked:
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
        “Good morning,” and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich – yes, richer than a king –
         And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
         To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
       And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night
       Went home and put a bullet through his head.

Response Questions for “Richard Cory” by E.A. Robinson

   1. Apply the rhyme scheme to this poem. Be sure to account for rhyme other than
      true rhyme to maintain a pattern. Remember that rhyme scheme should be written
      at the end of each line, using lower case letters.

   2. Describe Richard Cory as the speaker of the poem sees him. Be sure to quote
      some phrases from the poem to back up your ideas.

   3. What is the message or theme of this poem? How do you know?
ELA 20                                   Name:

Percy Bysshe Shelley

       I met a traveller from an antique land
       Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
       Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand,
       Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
       And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
       Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
       Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
       The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
       And on the pedestal these words appear:
       'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
       Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
       Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
       Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
       The lone and level sands stretch far away."

Ozymandias: according to a Greek historian of the first century B.C. the statue of
        Ozymandias was the largest in Egypt.
visage: face
The hand that mocked them: the hand of the sculptor who reproduced the passions.
the heart that fed: the heart of Ozymandias from which the passions came.

Response Questions for “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley

   1. What kind of king was Ozymandias when he was alive? Provide details from the
      poem to support your response.

   2. What is the message or theme of this poem? (Try describing what the traveler
      saw in your own words. This may help you get to the theme.)
ELA 20                                    Name:

   3. Give at least 3 words or phrases from the poem that support your idea of the
      theme of the poem and explain how these examples reveal the theme.

Sara Teasdale (1884-1933)

I must have passed the crest awhile ago
    And now I am going down--
Strange to have crossed the crest and not to know,
    But the brambles were always catching the hem of my gown.

All the morning I thought how proud I should be
    To stand there straight as a queen,
Wrapped in the wind and the sun with the world under me--
    But the air was dull, there was little I could have seen.

It was nearly level along the beaten track
    And the brambles caught in my gown--
But it’s no use now to think of turning back,
    The rest of the way will be only going down.

   This poem is an example of an extended metaphor. Rather than making a
   comparison in one phrase or sentence, the entire poem compares a literal thing with
   an idea or concept.
ELA 20                                  Name:

Response Questions for “The Long Hill” by Sara Teasdale

   1. What is the poem’s denotation? (What is literally or physically happening in the

   2. What is the poem’s connotation? (What is the speaker suggesting or describing?)

   3. Look at the following individual words within the poem. Explain what their
      connotations could be.

             the brambles

             the hill

             the crest

             the beaten track

   4. Now that you’ve explored the metaphor of the poem, re-read it. What specific
      comments is the speaker making about her journey?
ELA 20                                   Name:

Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a water'd shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these,
Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a daïs of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.

halcyon – calm, peaceful, happy
vair – grey & white squirrel fur

Response Questions for “A Birthday” by Christina Rossetti

   1. Identify as many examples of imagery as you can in this poem. (Mark them on
      the poem.)

   2. In your own words, summarize what the speaker in the poem is saying.

   3. What is meant by the title, “A Birthday.” (Is the speaker referring to an actual
      birthday, or does it refer to something else?)
ELA 20                                      Name:

Silvia Plath

I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
What ever you see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful---
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.                                     5
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.

Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,                                   10
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.                                15
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.

Response Questions to “Mirror” by Sylvia Plath

   1. The speaker of the poem is
         a. Sylvia Plath.
         b. the mirror.
         c. a woman.
         d. an unknown person.

   2. The predominant figure of speech in the poem is
         a. alliteration.
         b. allusion.
         c. personification.
         d. metonymy.

   3. All of the following lines clearly present the speaker as unbiased except
          a. “I have no preconceptions” (1).
          b. “unmisted by love or dislike” (3).
          c. “I am not cruel, only truthful” (4).
          d. “The eye of a little god” (5).
ELA 20                                   Name:

   4. The image introduced in line 10 with the words, “Now I am a lake” is continued
      in all of the following lines except
          a. “A woman bends over me, searching my reaches for what she really is”
          b. “Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon” (12).
          c. “In me she has drowned a young girl” (17).
          d. “an old woman / Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish” (17-

   5.    Suggest the main idea of the poem.

   6. What is the effect of the image of “a terrible fish” and how is it connected to the
      main idea of the poem?

Author Unknown

Slowly, silently, now the moon
Walks the night in her silver shoon;*
This way and that, she peers and sees
Silver fruit upon silver trees;
One by one the casements catch
Her beams beneath the silvery thatch;
Couched in his kennel like a log,
With paws of silver sleeps the dog;
From their shadowy cote the white breasts peep
Of doves in a silver-feathered sleep;
A harvest mouse goes scampering by,
With silver claws and silver eye;
And moveless fish in the water gleam,
By silver reeds in a silver stream.

ELA 20                                   Name:

Response Questions for “Silver” by Unknown

   1. Find one good example of alliteration. Write it here.

   2. Find a simile. Write it here.

   3. What particular figure of speech (other than simile or alliteration) is exemplified
      by the whole of this poem?

   4. The poet uses still another device for emphasis (other than the four mentioned
      above). What is it?

   5. What vowel sounds and consonant sounds are dominant in this poem? What do
      these vowel and consonant sounds contribute to the effect of the poem?

   6. What is the predominant color in this poem? Why do you suppose the poet chose
      this particular colour?

   7. Mark the rhyme scheme on all 14 lines of the poem.

   8. Why would the poet choose to use the archaic word “shoon”?
ELA 20                                   Name:

Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favour fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Response Questions for “Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost

   1. What purpose do the line lengths serve in the poem?

   2. What is the topic of the poem?

   3. Symbolism is an important aspect of this poem.
         a. What do you think the fire represents?

           b. What do you think the ice represents?

   4. Is the speaker in the poem casual or serious about the topic? What evidence do
      you have?

   5. Is this an appropriate topic for our times? Explain.
ELA 20                                   Name:

A.E. Housman (1859-1936)

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride*
Wearing white or Eastertide.

Now of my threescore** years and ten,                5
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It leaves me only fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,                      10
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

*a narrow forest road
**score = twenty years

Response Questions for “Loveliest of Trees, The Cherry Now” by A.E. Housman

   1. Name the example of imagery used in line 7.

   2. Name the figure of speech used in line 12.

   3. Mark the rhyme scheme of the poem.
   4. Apply scansion to the second stanza (lines 5-8).
   5. What is meant by the word “snow” in line 12?

   6. What season of the year is being described in this poem?

   7. How old is the speaker? How do you know?
ELA 20                                  Name:

   8. What can you deduce about the speaker’s personality from this poem? That is,
      what sort of person do you think she or he is, what does she or he value, etc.?

   9. Express, as simply as you can, the theme or central idea of this poem. Do not
      merely re-tell what happens in the poem.

Robinson Jeffers

The days shorten, the south blows wide for showers now,
The south wind shouts to the rivers,
The rivers open their mouths and the salt salmon
Race up into the freshet.
In Christmas month against the smoulder and menace                       5
Of a long angry sundown,
Red ash of the dark solstice, you see the anglers,
Pitiful, cruel, primeval,
Like the priests of the people that built Stonehenge,
Dark silent forms, performing                                            10
Remote solemnities in the red shallows
Of the river's mouth at the year's turn,
Drawing landward their live bullion, the bloody mouths
And scales full of the sunset
Twitch on the rocks, no more to wander at will                           15
The wild Pacific pasture nor wanton and spawning
Race up into fresh water.
ELA 20                                   Name:

Response Questions for “Salmon-Fishing” by Robinson Jeffers

   1. What time of the year (month) does the action of this poem take place? Provide
      two pieces of evidence from the poem to support your answer.

   2. What figure of speech is used in line 3?

   3. Find one example of alliteration. Write it here.

   4. The speaker compares the fishermen to “the priests of the people that build
      Stonehenge.” What two figures of speech are used for this comparison?

   5. What image or idea of the fishermen do you get from the speaker’s descriptions?
      Explain by referring specifically to the poem.

   6. Find one word in the poem that indicates that the salmon are valuable.

   7. Explain how the scales of the salmon could be “full of the sunset” (line 14).
ELA 20                                     Name:

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809 – 1892)

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.

Response Questions for “Crossing the Bar” by Alfred Lord Tennyson

   1. Underline at least two (2) good examples of alliteration on the poem.
   2. Find one example of onomatopoeia. Circle it in the poem.
   3. What is the speaker referring to in this poem? (What is he talking about?)

   4. What is the significance of the time of day mentioned in the poem? (In other
      words, how does the time of day reflect the topic of the poem?)

   5. What is meant by the word “bar”?
ELA 20                                    Name:

   6. What does the poet mean by the word “Pilot”?

   7. What is the tone or mood of the poem? Explain how the poet creates this mood.

   8. What message does the speaker wish to impress upon the reader?

Kahlil Gibran

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said,
       Speak to us of Children.
And he said:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you
        cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make
        them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living
       arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
       and He bends you with His might that His arrows
       may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also
       the bow that is stable.
ELA 20                                   Name:

Response Questions for “On Children” by Kahlil Gibran

   1. Reread the first stanza of the poem. Explain why the speaker believes children
      “are not your children” but “the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.”

   2. Who do you think “He” is in the final stanza? Explain your choice with specific
      reference to the poem.

   3. Paraphrase (put into your own words) the final stanza, using modern language and

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