TPPCASTT for Reaper


Black reapers with the sound of steel on stones
Are sharpening scythes. I see them place the hones
In their hip-pockets as a thing that’s done,
And start their silent swinging, one by one.
Black horses drive a mower through the weeds,
And there, a field rat, startled, squealing bleeds,
His belly close to ground. I see the blade,
Blood-stained, continue cutting weeds and shade.

Jean Toomer

TPCASTT for annotation

T-title:  The meaning of the title without reference to the poem.

Reaper = grim reaper

P-paraphrase:  Put the poem, line by line, in your own words.  DO NOT READ INTO THE POEM.  Only read on surface level.

  • sharpening scythes = sharpening blades
  • hone = knife
  • black horses drive a mower = moving through grass mowing
  • rat, startled, squealing bleeds = rat was cut
  • see the blade, blood stained, continue cutting = keep using blood stained blade and finish working

C-connotation: looking for deeper meaning.

Feeling attached to words

Look at attitude of speaker/poet

Black reapers = grim, ominous

Alliteration – sound steel stones sharpening scythes silent swinging also shows onomatopoeia

Silent swinging = sneaking

a thing that’s done = finality, business as usual

Black reapers and Black horses = repetition

field rat startled squealing bleeds = abrupt eeee sound in the silence of the silent swinging

alliteration = belly, blood, blood stained

continued cutting weeds = cycle of life, work goes on in the midst of the death

  • Diction and symbolism
  • Imagery
  • Metaphors and similes
  • Rhyme scheme
  • End rhymes and internal rhymes
  • End stop
  • Enjambment
  • Alliteration
  • Assonance
  • Consonance
  • Mood
  • Allusions
  • Punctuation
  • Personification

A-attitude: Looking for the author’s tone.  How is the writer speaking?

resigned and distant from the work

attentive/reflective to the surroundings


S-shifts: Looking for shifts in tone, action, and rhythm.  Don’t just write the number.  Discuss how the shift(s) affects the poem.

Poem shifts at the death of the rat

T-title: reevaluate the title as it pertains to the poem

Reaper = gatherers  Reaper = grim reaper

T-theme: What does the poem mean? What is it saying?  How does it relate to life?

Cycle of life

Disconnect from nature

Reapers are acting as machines like the mowers

Machine kills nature


One comment on “TPPCASTT for Reaper

  1. Pingback: Our focus on poetry | Valerie's GNOWP experience

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s