Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken Interpreting

To present a compelling explication and interpretation in which you provide plenty of textual evidence in support of your thesis, that is, your interpretation. You will need to follow the ten steps specified on the other side of this sheet.
1. Is the poem LYRIC, NARRATIVE, or DRAMATIC? How do you know?
2. Underline all unfamiliar words and look up their DENOTATIONS in a dictionary; write out their definitions. After the denotations, write out a list of the CONNOTATIONS of ALL significant words (including those that you looked up).
3. Who’s speaking in this poem? Write out what you know about the narrator: Who is he or she? What can we learn about his or her personality? (Remember that the NARRATOR is not the same person as the author!)
4. What is the TONE of the poem? Write out the specific portions of the poem that lead you to conclude what the author’s attitude his. Is there a fundamental difference between what you expect and what you get in the poem? List any instances of IRONY that you find—and explain why you find them ironic.
5. Write out any words or lines that refer to a sense experience. To which sense(s) do these IMAGES appeal? Explain how the imagery intensifies what you feel about the poem and add your understanding of it.
6. Look closely for FIGURES OF SPEECH in the poem—and not just the “easy” ones like simile and metaphor, but the hard one like hyperbole, synecdoche, metonymy, etc. (consult your handout from class). Make a list of these figures of speech. What effect do these languages devices have upon you and your understanding of the poem?
7. What role does SOUND play in the poem? Write out any instances of alliteration, assonance, etc., and mark the rhyme scheme in the poem. Explain why the words linked by sound receive extra emphasis: what’s important about them and what they’re saying?
8. Mark the stressed and unstressed syllables in the poem. Do you detect a METER? What is it? Give at least one example of a scanned line.
9. Consider the FORM of the poem. Write out the rhyme scheme. Why do the lines end and begin where they do? Does the poem have stanzas? Why or why not? What does the form of the poem have to do with what the poem is saying?
10. Finally, write out your INTERPRETATION (not less than half a page) of the poem, using as evidence the information that you have gathered. Your interpretation must take into consideration all of the elements in the poem, not merely some of them.

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