Unlike other literacy materials, poems are very metaphorical and figurative. They don’t use direct speech like some of the scholarly materials you find in the libraries and bookshop. For this reason, when analyzing a poem, you must take note of every part of the poem, from the title to mode and tone of the poem. The four steps on how to analyze a poem can help you know what to do when asked to analyze one.
Step1. Examine the Heading
Mostly, headings introduce the readers to the main themes in the poems. Understanding the heading of a poem before reading it is very important, as it helps you get an insight of what the persona or the poet is talking about in the poem. However, when reading the heading of a poem, you must think beyond the literal meaning of the words used. Most poets use figurative language when choosing their words for the heading. Therefore, think outside the box if you want to know the meaning of the heading.
Step2. Read the Poem
When reading the poem, free up your mind and move with the persona in the poem. Read the poem more than twice if you want to have a clear image of what the writer is talking about. Take note of the stylistic devices the writer uses in the poem. Some of the stylistic devices you may look for include assonance, metaphor, overstatements, understatements, onomatopoeic words, imagery, and symbolism.
Step3. Examine the End of the Poem
The end of the poem, the last sentence is very important as it gives you the massage the persona wants to send to the audience or the readers. Therefore, make sure that you examine the last sentence of the poem critically to understand the theme of the poem.
Step4. Examine the Tone and the Mood of the Poem
Mood and tone are two important aspects of any poem. The mood of a poem is the general feeling of the poem. It can be remorseful, nostalgic, or sarcastic depending on the poem. On the other hand, the tone of a poem is the persona’s point of view; for instance, it can be lively tone or a sad tone depending on the poem.