This printable supports Common Core ELA Standards ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.1, ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.2, ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.3, and ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.4

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Analyzing a Poem (Grades 11-12)

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Analyzing a Poem

An excerpt from The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door
Only this and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow, sorrow for the lost Lenore
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me, filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
"'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door.
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;
This it is and nothing more."

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you here I opened wide the door:
Darkness there and nothing more.
A cadence is a rhythmic rising and falling of the voice as lines of poetry are read aloud. A cadence is used to underscore...
  1. the passing of time
  2. the importance of art
  3. the emotional outpouring of the heart
  4. the true meaning of poetry
  5. none of the above
How does the cadence of the poem affect its overall feeling?

Later in the poem, the speaker discovers a raven sitting by the door.
In literature, ravens typically represent one of three things:
the harbinger of death, the trickster or thief, and the wise spirit.

Based on the stanzas in this excerpt, which does the raven in this poem most likely represent?
  1. The harbinger of death
  2. The trickster or thief
  3. The wise spirit
  4. None of the above
Which word would you use to most accurately describe the speaker?
  1. Nervous
  2. Melodramatic
  3. Fearless
  4. Despondent
Do you think the actions the speaker discusses are really happening or has the speaker gone mad?

Sonnets on Love XIII
by Jean de Sponde

“Give me a place to stand," Archimedes said,
“and I can move the world.” Paradoxical, clever,
his remark which first explained the use of the lever
was an academic joke. But if that dead

sage could return to life, he would find a clear
demonstration of his idea, which is not
pure theory after all. That putative spot
exists in the love I feel for you, my dear.

What could be more immovable or stronger?
What becomes more and more secure, the longer
it is battered by inconstancy and the stress

we find in our lives? Here is that fine fixed point
from which to move a world that is out of joint,
as he could have done, had he known a love like this.
In "Sonnet on Love XIII," the statement of Archimedes "Give me a place to stand and I can move the world" exemplifies which of the following?
  1. simile
  2. metaphor
  3. personification
  4. paradox
Jean de Sponde was considered a metaphysical poet. These poets often used unusual metaphors in their poetry. How does the poet exemplify this trait of metaphysical poets?
  1. He says their love is powerful.
  2. He compares their love to a lever.
  3. He references Archimedes, an Ancient Greek mathematician.
  4. He compares their love to moving the world.
The word paradoxical as used in the first stanza most likely means...
  1. confusing
  2. profound
  3. contradictory
  4. absurd
A lever is a board or rod that pivots on a fulcrum. As a force is applied, the load moves. The distance from the force to the fulcrum is the effort arm and the distance from the load to the fulcrum is the load arm.

Which part of the lever does the speaker represent?
  1. The fulcrum
  2. The force
  3. The effort arm
  4. The load arm
What is the theme of this poem?

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