Breaking down a writing prompt

The 2012 released topics

The prompt: Read the poem carefully.  Then write a well developed essay in which you analyze how poetic devices help convey the speaker’s complex attitude toward desire.

Attitude towards desire in lines 1-4

desire = web of will, fool’s self-chosen snare, fancy’s scum, and dregs, never wrought


why is it capitalized? anger because he has caused problem himself

mangled mind = screwed with thoughts

thy worthless ware = worthless thing

too long asleep = wasted too much time

BUT = shift

in vain thou has my ruin sought = you have tried to bring me down

in vain thou madest me to vain things aspire = you tried to make me want foolishness

in vain thou kindlest = you tried to consume me but in vain

for virtue hath

desiring naught but how to kill desire = I want nothing but to get rid of desire

Lit devices

  • apostrophe
  • rhyme
  • alliteration
  • structure



Studying Shakespeare’s Languge

1. Using statues to SHOW the representation of emotions/tones:

  • ambition, fear, bravery, deception, respect and honor

2. Use lines of text for statues to show tones

  • “All hail Macbeth” HONOR
  • “King that shall be” AMBITION
  • “Fair is foul and foul is fair” CONFUSION
  • “I have no words My voice is in my sword” ANGER

3. Group tableaux

  • A little water clears us of the ded
  • hell is murky
  • there’s daggers in men’s smiles
  • look like innocent flower, but  r serpent under it

After each presentation – Ask Questions

Other ways to get students involved in the language

  • improvisations
  • mime
  • role play
  • group readings
  • scene cuttings
  • standing up a scene


Tis a pageant to keep us in false gaze


Syntax Walk



Our focus on poetry

We began the class looking at the tone of Papa’s Waltz by

Hawk Roosting by Ted Hughes

The speaker

Monologue for an Onion by Suji Kwock Kim

Speaker – onion

Luke Havergal by Edwin Arlington Robinson

We discussed the speaker

The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams

Tips for reading poems

  1. Read the poem aloud twice
  2. Always begin with the title
  3. Separate the speaker from the poet
  4. TPCASTT for annotation
    • Title
    • Paraphrase
    • Connotation
    • Attitudes
    • Shifts
    • Title again
    • Theme
  5. Start with the literal meaning
  6. FOCUS the essay on the tone or meaning of the poem
  7. Write original poetry
  8. mix study of meter and rhyme with study of diction, imagery and tone
  9. use multiple choice passages as practice and as graded tests
  10. assign timed writing, old AP questions as practice and as graded tests