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Interpreting Poetry (Grade 8)

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Interpreting Poetry

When interpreting poetry it is very important to explain
  1. the author's birthplace.
  2. the author's wife's name.
  3. the meaning and message of the poem.
  4. the mean and mode of the set.
Explain the meaning of these two lines from Song of Myself: "I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable, I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world."
  1. He is a free spirit, unlike other, more dignified authors.
  2. He is untamed, a wild heathen.
  3. He is trying to pretend he is like the hawk.
  4. No one understands him.
  5. none of the above
What does the phrase "my heart leaps up..." mean in the following lines?

"My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky..."
  1. His heart is beating fast.
  2. He is getting old.
  3. He doesn't like nature.
  4. He is very happy.
Read the following poem by Langston Hughes:


Democracy will not come
Today, this year
Nor ever
Through compromise and fear.

I have as much right
As the other fellow has
To stand
On my two feet
And own the land.

I tire so of hearing people say,
Let things take their course.
Tomorrow is another day.
I do not need my freedom when I'm dead.
I cannot live on tomorrow's bread.

Is a strong seed
In a great need.
I live here, too.
I want freedom
Just as you.

What is a possible theme of this poem?
  1. A man wants to have freedom before it is too late.
  2. Be patient
  3. All people desire freedom and deserve equal rights during their lifetime.
  4. Democracy
Predator in the night
Eyes flashing with intent
Hunting for something to feed
Her and her young
She claws up a tree to perch high above
To watch closely and carefully
Ready to kill, ready to provide
So that they can live another day

What would be a possible theme for the poem?
  1. People turn into animals if they are left in the wild.
  2. Hunting is a dangerous sport if you aren't careful.
  3. Watch out for predators when you are outdoors.
  4. The predator instinct exists within everyone.
Apparently with No Surprise

Apparently with no surprise
To any happy flower,
The frost beheads it at its play
In accidental power.

The blond assassin passes on,
The sun proceeds unmoved
To measure off another day
For an approving God.

The tone of the poem implies that the speaker probably regards God as
  1. kind.
  2. fair.
  3. cruel.
  4. angry.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

What does the road represent in the poem?
  1. danger
  2. pathways
  3. choices
  4. life
It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea:
But we loved with a love that was more than love -
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

The above excerpt from Poe's poem "Annabel Lee" is an example of internal rhyme.
  1. True
  2. False
Read these lines:

And I'm gonna put white hands
And black hands and brown and yellow hands
And red clay earth hands in it
Touching everybody with kind fingers
And touching each other natural as dew
In that dawn of music when I
Get to be a composer
And write about daybreak
In Alabama.

What does Langston Hughes mean by these lines?

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