The poem you are explicating is “Ballade of Worldly Wealth.”
For this assignment you will write a five paragraph explication of the poem. The purpose of an explication is to explain the structure, sound and meaning of a poem. All of the parts of the explication should be leading up to your big finish, your conclusion where you reveal the theme of the poem and you evaluate the poem’s effectiveness.
Let’s review the steps of the explication.
Step One: Read the poem silently. Consider the meaning of the poem. What is the subject of the poem? What are the mood and tone of the poem? What message is the author sending about his/her subject?
Step Two: Read the poem aloud. This is a critical step in the process and should not be skipped. Poetry contains both rhythm and music which are easily overlooked if you do not read it aloud.
Step Three: Look at the big questions. Make sure you can answer each one.
- WHO? – Who is speaking in the poem? Who is being spoke about? Who is addressed in the poem
- WHERE ? – Where is the poem set?
- WHAT? – What is the subject of the poem? What message is the author sending about the subject?
- WHEN? – When was the poem written and is the information significant? When is the poem set?
- WHY? – Why did the poet write the poem?
- HOW? – How is the poem executed? With what sound devices, literary devices, and structure?
The FIRST PARAGRAPH of your explication will deal with some of these big ideas. In this paragraph you will want to be sure to identify and discuss:
- The subject of the poem
- The tone and/or mood of the poem
- The speaker of the poem
- The audience of the poem
- The setting of the poem
- The form of the poem
- A paraphrase of the poem (tell the story of the poem in your own words)
Step Four: Paying attention to the elements of poetry allows for a systematic analysis of the poem. As you continue to work on Ballade of Worldly Wealth, take notes on each of these elements of the poem. You will want to discuss each of them in your explication.
In your SECOND, THIRD and FOURTH PARAGRAPHS you will examine closely the structure, sound, and meaning of the poem
Step Five: In your next paragraphs you will write about the details and the patterns in the poem, “Ballade of Worldly Wealth” by Andrew Lang. For this assignment, please go line-by-line and explain the elements as you see them appear in the poem. You will still need to write a strong topic sentence.
When you have finished writing this assignment, please submit it, making sure to document your sources.