1. Discuss with students the organization and development
of an analytical essay which they are to complete within
4-5 days. Tell them that this is a process that must
be completed in several steps.
2. Students should first select one of the poems by
Carl Sandburg that they have been reading.
3. Students should first complete a worksheet that
directs their reading of the poem. These questions
than the questions the students answered the previous day.
should be used:
A. Read the poem several times. Read more slowly than
you would prose. Read in sentences rather than
B. Make sure you know the meaning of every word.
Look up any words that are not clear from their
that most words have more than one meaning. Poets
are aware of this and often make use of the
C. If the meaning of a sentence is at first unclear,
study its syntax (structure) and its punctuation.
Look for key
words and words that indicate transitions or
turnings in the poet's
thoughts. To be sure you understand the meaning,
try rephrasing the sentence in your own words.
D. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the poem make a general statement and
then support the statement with details? Is
than one general
statement? If so, how are they related?
- Who is the speaker of the poem? What does
the character of the speaker have to do with
- Is there repetition of words or phrases or
ideas? Is there parallel structure of ideas
the effect of any comparisons or contrasts
in the poem?
- Is there more than one level of meaning in the poem? If so,
which lines are most deeply concerned with which meaning?
4. Students should now answer questions that direct
their reading of the poem, focusing specifically
on poetic devices. The following
A. What is the subject of the poem?
B. Who is the speaker of the poem?
C. What is the situation in the poem?
D. Describe the diction in the poem. What is its effect
on the poem? Explain.
E. What is the tone of the poem? Justify your response.
F. Is there any figurative language in the poem? Identify
G. Explain the imagery in the poem. What is the source
of the imagery?
H. What is the theme of the poem? Explain your response.
5. Direct students to now look at all their answers
and pinpoint three of the answers that are
the strongest, and
that they feel
6. Have students compose a thesis, or central idea,
that captures the three things they feel most
in the poem “Chicago”,
Carl Sandburg shows the experience of the American worker with his use of imagery,
metaphor, and allusion.
7. Have students develop the ideas in their thesis
by composing topic sentences that support their
thesis. In addition,
develop their topic
sentences even further by making comments and
supporting their comments with examples from
8. Students should be taken through the entire
writing process with this essay. After students
thesis with topic
examples, they should compose a rough draft
of their essay. This draft should be edited
for fluency and mechanics and then a final
should be composed.
Students turn in the final drafts of their essays.