Join Discussion 7: More Unpacking Meaning in Poetry. Describe the topic or purpose for each of the assigned poems. What does the Duke want the reader to know? What is the speaker in “The Flea” trying to accomplish? What does the Frost poem mean literally? Now move into the metaphoric, symbolic or connotative meanings of the poems. What does the poem say without saying it literally? For instance in “My Last Duchess” the speaker says “Fra Pandolf’s hands/Worked busily a day” to paint that picture. What does that tell us about the duchess’ ability to interact with others? Look at how the elements work together to create the meaning of the poem. Read and respond to what others say they think the poems mean. Are you surprised by the range of meaning seen in these postings?
Join Discussion 8: Narrowing your Topic. Your research essay should not be a plot summary. We want to know more than what happens in the book. Your goal is to present a critical analysis of the text. In this discussion, tell us what areas you plan to focus on in the analysis of your book. You may want to explore one or more of the questions you have used in examining the short stories and poetry you have read in the course:
Setting: What is the historical, geographical, and social context of the story? How might this affect the story?
Character: Who is the main character in the story? How does he or she change over the course of the book? How do you, as a reader, develop an understanding of the main character? Who are the secondary characters? How do they interact with the main character?
Point of View: Who is the narrator of the story? Does the narrator an actor in the story or an objective observer? How does his or her perspective shape the story?
Language: How does the author’s use of language affect the story? How does he use dialogue? What does his choice of words and syntax reveal about his attitude toward the subject?