Analysis of Poetry



The title

What does the title imply? Discuss its connection with the poem.


The plot

What is the poem about? What happens, when and why? Is there a sequence of following events or is a single situation described? What conflict is presented? What elements guide the proceeding of the poem?


The setting

The setting can be in terms of time and place, but you also need to consider the historical, cultural, religious and psychological setting. The setting can be used to create a mood or used symbolically or allegorically. It can range from concrete to abstract, depending on its purpose. Identify the setting and discuss its effects.


The speaker

Who speaks in the poem? What is the attitude and tone of the speaker?  What effect does the narrative voice create? (understanding, closeness, insight in the problems of the narrator) Remember that even if there is an “I” in the poem, it doesn’t mean that it is the author who is speaking.


The theme

Identify the theme in the poem. The theme is the message or the central idea in the text.


The mood and atmosphere

What is the mood? Is it the same throughout the poem, or does it change? What elements are used to create the mood? Could be choice of words, imagery, rhymes etc. What atmosphere does the writer create?  Could be mysterious, romantic, witty.



How is the poem organised? How does the structure guide the proceeding of the poem? What effect does it create?



What kinds of words are used? What associations do these words have? What feeling do they create? Are there any repetitions? Are there any contrasts or paradoxes? Does the writer use irony or humour?



Does the author use metaphors, symbols, similes, personification? What is the effect of these?


Discuss the difference between you own culture’s views of the world and the view of the speaker in the poem.


It is important that you don’t just identify different literary effects, you should discuss how they are achieved and the effect of these.

Don’t forget that your analysis should be in the same form as any other essay. Start with an introduction where you introduce the poem and your task, move to the analysis and end with a conclusion.