I was just checking out the History Channel website and learned the following:
On this day in 1776, General George Washington arrives at Harlem Heights, on the northern end of Manhattan, and takes command of a group of retreating Continental troops…During the short but intense fighting that ensued, the Americans were able to force a small British retreat from their northern positions.
In celebration of the Battle of Harlem Heights on September 16, 1776, I give you a lesson plan and some analysis of my favorite Harlem Renaissance poet, Langston Hughes.
2. Annotate the poem using the following steps:
- identify the rhyme scheme
- identify the meter and any examples of straying from the meter
- if the poem is difficult, summarize each stanza
- circle important words, ambiguous words, and words you need to look up
- circle examples of figurative language
- write questions
- write down insights
3. Draw conclusions based on the information you gathered while annotating.
4. Write the poem analysis. The following steps are for how to write a paragraph analysis:
- The topic sentence should state the poem’s theme (one that may not be so obvious).
- The examples, facts, citations from the poem you’re analyzing should support your topic sentence.
- Provide analysis explaining how your facts support your topic sentence.
5. Impress your friends and neighbors with a brilliant poem analysis.
Let’s take a look at Common Core Standards
- RL.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
- RL.9-10.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
- RL.9-10.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).
- RL.9-10.5 Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise.
- If you choose to turn the annotation into a poetry analysis paragraph, you’ll also cover a ton of writing standards.
Here’s a sample Harlem Renaissance Poetry analysis of “What Happens to a Dream Deferred” and “Dreams” by Langston Hughes: Sample Poetry Analysis
Or you could just check out my original Weebly page on the Poetry of Langston Hughes.
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.