One of the difficulties students tend to have with analyzing poetry is figuring out how to start. TPCASTT is one way that will help with analyzing a poem.
TPCASTT is an acronym standing for title, paraphrase, connotation, attitude, shift, title (again), and theme.
1.Students begin by looking at the title of the poem to determine what they think it might be about and what it might literally mean.
2.Next, they read the poem and paraphrase it. What is the “story” of the poem in their own words? They should also define words they don’t know at this stage.
3. Examining the connotations means looking at words that might have multiple meanings and trying to determine if there is a meaning beyond the literal that lies beneath the surface of the poem. At this stage, students are truly analyzing the text.
4. Attitude involves determining the tone and emotions associated with the subject. What sort of attitude does the speaker take toward the subject?
5. Many poems involve a shift in tone. Next, students examine the poem to see if they can detect a shift, and if so, where it occurs, what kind of shift it is, and how it changes the direction and meaning of the poem.
6. After examining the poem, students return to the title again. Are there any new insights about the title after they have read the poem?
7. The final step is determining the theme. What greater message did the poet hope to convey? Why did he/she pick up the pen?
One advantage of this method is that it provides students a framework and process for analyzing poetry. Students examine subject, purpose, and audience through this analysis.
We then practiced using the TPCASTT METHOD with the following two poems. Students received participation points for attending class. You are welcome to attend a Flex session to assist with recovering the points.
"We real cool.
SEVEN AT THE 'GOLDEN SHOVEL" by Gwendolyn Brooks
We real cool.
We Left school.
We Lurk late.
We Strike straight.
We Sing sin.
We Thin gin.
We Jazz June.
We Die soon.
"The White Man Pressed the Locks, 1970" James C. Kilgore
Driving down the concrete artery,
Away from the smoky heart,
Through the darkening, blighted body,
Pausing at varicose veins,
The white man pressed the locks
on all the sedan's doors,
Sped toward the white corpuscles
in the white arms hugging the black city
1. Remember that the second 1/3 of your memoir needs to be read by Tuesday, March 13th!
2. Please TPCASTT the included poem entitled, "Ready to Kill" by Carl Sandburg. Please see the explanation for the assignment below. If you have questions, don't hesitate to see me during Flex.