Synthesis Examples In Essays Are Poems

As if writing a more standard essay were not enough, your instructor slaps you with this: a compare and contrast essay. What makes it worse is that it’s about poetry—as if you know how to compare and contrast poems already.

How does she expect you to completely decipher and explain not just one poem but two? To make matters worse, some of the poems you have read in class this semester may as well have been written in a foreign language.

Let’s take a step back and start in a language you do understand: pop songs. Now, pop songs are not poetry. And your instructor likely wouldn’t appreciate an essay about the nuances of the latest Pitbull song when compared to Twenty One Pilots’ new single. But this is a good place to learn the technique of how to compare and contrast poems.

Comparing Taylor Swift to Miley Cyrus: Yep, That’s Right

THE MOST EPIC RAP BATTLE OF HISTORY!

Just kidding. I wish.

Instead of hosting a showdown, I’m going to show you how to compare and contrast poems successfully using “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus and “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift as my examples.

(In case you’ve been living under a rock, here are links to the lyrics of Wrecking Ball and Blank Space.)

Whenever you’re comparing and contrasting poetry, the first thing you should do is make a list of both obvious and subtle similarities and differences. Here’s what such a list might look like for these two songs:

  • Both songs discuss dysfunctional or doomed relationships.
  • Both songs use violent imagery and language.
  • “Wrecking Ball” is more of a lament, whereas “Blank Space” has a satirical tone.
  • The songs both discuss a superficial love where no one succeeds in having a deep connection with the other person.
  • “Blank Space” comes across as purposefully malicious, while “Wrecking Ball” makes the violence in the relationship sound accidental.
  • “Blank Space” employs a variety of slant rhymes, whereas “Wrecking Ball” primarily uses full rhymes.

Once you have a list of significant similarities and differences between the works you’re comparing, you can move on to building your thesis statement.

Note that pop songs don’t have many of the elements of a poetic work. When looking for similarities and differences in the poems you have chosen, make sure to consider the rhyme scheme, format, meter, and time period.

Calm down, Taylor. You’re playing in a whole different ballpark.

Building a Thesis Statement for a Comparison Essay

The thesis statement is arguably the most difficult part of writing your essay, but it doesn’t have to be intimidating. In learning how to compare and contrast poems, keep in mind that your thesis statement should have the following elements:

  • A  basic, one-to-two-sentence outline of what you will discuss throughout the essay
  • An evidence-based opinion or argument that someone could disagree with
  • A balanced sentence structure that gives equal weight to both works

If you need more information about building the perfect thesis statement, check out this blog about the five-step thesis statement.

In order to come up with a thesis statement for my pop-song comparison, I need to return to my list. What sort of argument would encompass most, if not all the points I listed?

To make this easier, let’s start with a template:

Though [poem 1] uses [poetic element 1] and[poem 2] employs [poetic element 2], both works contribute to [common theme].

Using this template, let’s add the songs I chose as examples and spruce up the wording. A good thesis statement for comparing these songs might look like this:

Though “Wrecking Ball” focuses on the lack of emotional connection in a relationship and “Blank Space” takes a more satirical, callous perspective on relationships, both songs employ violent imagery to convey that relationships are often superficial.

Here, I have hit many of the major talking points I want to cover within my essay. I have also outlined how my essay is going to look. Also note that it would be reasonable for someone to argue against my claim that the songs are about the superficiality of relationships—this arguability is what makes for a good thesis statement.

To help you get started, here are some poetic elements to consider for your thesis statement:

  • Diction
  • Tone
  • Form
  • Meter
  • Rhyme
  • Imagery
  • Narrative voice
  • Line breaks

You can find more ideas of what to discuss in your paper by looking at these poetic elements.

And you can get more help building the perfect thesis statement here (hint: choose the compare and contrast essay type).

How to Compare and Contrast Poems: The Tennis Match Problem

Unfortunately, you want to avoid tennis matches in your essay.

While writing comparison essays, students often run into the tennis match problem once they get into their body paragraphs. The tennis match refers to when you switch the poem or body of work you’re talking about every couple sentences or so.

While you do want to give equal weight to each work you discuss, you don’t want your reader getting whiplash every time you swap between them. In other words, “Who would win in a tennis match? Miley Cyrus or Taylor Swift?” isn’t an ideal title or premise for our example.

To avoid this issue, you can employ one of two methods.

Method 1: One at a time

In this method, you analyze one poem completely before digging into the next. This way, your reader gets plenty of space to think about your points and arguments. However, in using this structure, you risk missing the real comparison between the works.

If you choose to explicate on the works separately, make sure to use phrases such as “Though [poem 1] relies heavily on … , [poem 2] … ” and “Unlike [poem 1] … ”

Method 2: Switch between paragraphs

The other way for how to compare and contrast poems is to switch between works every paragraph. In this way, you discuss one element of one poem and move on to discuss the same element in the second poem. Often, this method is the easiest for a reader to follow.

When using this structure, make sure you have complete body paragraphs. A complete paragraph should include the following:

  • The topic sentence (an argument about the evidence you have)
  • Evidence (a direct quote or paraphrase from the work)
  • A tie-in (to connect the point back to your thesis statement)

That’ll make you way too good to play tennis.

Want to know what a good compare and contrast essay looks like? Check out these example poem comparisons.

Final Tips on Writing a Comparison Essay

Now that you have the basics down and know exactly how to pit Taylor and Miley against each other, you can move on to the big leagues: writing a comparison essay for actual poems.

To help you, here are some closing tips:

  • If your instructor allows you to choose the poems you compare and contrast, choose several pairs and make an initial comparison list with each pair. From there, you can better see which set would make for a better, more substantial essay. Remember, for best results, you want two poems that have a common theme.
  • After writing your first draft, read your essay out loud and imagine the tennis match scenario. Is there too much back and forth? Will readers understand what you’re trying to prove?
  • Make sure you’re using enough evidence to prove your thesis statement. Do this by including direct quotes. Don’t forget that you should only have one piece of evidence per paragraph. You should use the rest of the paragraph to explain why the evidence is important.

And when you’re working on your final draft, don’t forget to get a second pair of eyes on it. Kibin editors will provide insightful advice about how you can improve your essay and get a better grade.

Now, fill that blank space on your paper, go in like a wrecking ball, and impress your instructor with your know-how on how to compare and contrast poems like a lit major!

Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays.

Every author and poet have their own unique style that cannot be replicated. Based on how they think or what they are trying to portray, they create various poems to explore several ideas or theories that were on their mind.

Poetry analysis is simply . Normally, this review is conducted and recorded within the structure of a literary analysis essay. This type of essay writing requires one to take a deeper look at both the choices that a poet made and the overall effects of those choices. These papers require an in-depth analysis of all of the parts that were used to form a work of poetry.


Table Of Contents


Steps To Take Pre-Writing

In order to compose a poetry analysis essay, one must first read the poem carefully. It is definitely important to reread the literary piece several times so as to get a full grasp of the numerous ideas and concepts. This also gives you an opportunity to make note of the rhyme scheme (if there is one), the type of poem (Limerick, ode, sonnet, lyric, haiku, free verse, etc.) and other poetic techniques that the poet used (such as enjambment, meter, end-stopped lines, figurative language, etc.).

  • Limerick: Limerick is a stanza of five lines, with the first, second and fifth rhyming with one another and having three feet of three syllables each; and the shorter third and fourth lines also rhyming with each other, but having only two feet of three syllables.
  • Ode: Its structure - 10-line stanzas rhyming, with the 8th line iambic trimeter and all the others iambic pentameter
  • Sonnet: A fourteen-line poem written in iambic pentameter. Was made famous by non-other than Shakespeare! (Shakespeare invented the word "swag"... just saying)
  • Lyric: A lyric poem is a comparatively short, non-narrative poem in which a single speaker presents a state of mind or an emotional state. Rather than tell a story, the speaker talks about his thoughts using a specific rhyming style.
  • Haiku: Invented by the Japanese, a haiku is a three-line poem with seventeen syllables, written in a 5/7/5 syllable count.
  • Free-Verse: Rather simple, free verse is poetry that does not rhyme or have a regular rhythm.

All of those elements of the poem are essential to know when one is writing a poetry analysis essay because they are a part of the poem’s structure and can affect the content.

After covering the technical aspects of a poem, it is best to learn about the background of the poem. This means that one may find it beneficial to look up the poet, the date that the poem was written, and the cultural context of the work. All of that information typically gives the reader a more in-depth understanding of the poem, and it seems self-explanatory that one who has an enhanced comprehension of the poem would have an easier time conducting an analysis of that poem.

The final element of writing a poetry analysis essay is a part of the composition dedicated to the subject matter of the poem. This can be analyzed during the reader’s quest to determine the theme, tone, mood, and meaning of the poem. The subject matter – and the thematic elements that support the intended message behind the subject – is often an interpretive minefield.

Often, people have different ideas about what a poet is trying to say by their use of a subject, so unless the message is implicitly stated, it is best to state about what the poet may have meant and include evidence for these theories.

However, it is important to generally pick a side among the various theories that you have created. Though the author could have tried to portray several different ideas in theories, .
The writer should be careful to not mistake this with choosing a favorite opinion or biased one. They should be defending the one that carries the most weight or offers the most validation! As the essay is to be an analysis, opinions are to be avoided in favor of facts and conjectures that are backed by evidence from the work.

How To Choose A Topic

A great way to choose a topic for a poetry analysis essay is to decide on a topic that would deal with information that one is already familiar with. For example, if the choice of the poem to analyze is up to the writer, then it may be beneficial for the writer to choose a poem that he/she has encountered before. If the choice is to be made between different subject areas within a poem, then the writer could find it easier to choose to focus on writing about an area that plays to his/her strengths, so that the statements made in the essay are conveyed

A poetry analysis essay may seem like a daunting writing assignment at first, but if the topic, outline, and paper are composed following the aforementioned steps, the paper will no doubt, turn out very well.

Poetry Analysis Essay Outline

An outline for a poetry analysis essay can be very simple, as it is just a guideline for the writer to build upon as the first draft is written. It would probably be best to put the title of the paper at the top of a page, then place a Roman numeral one (I) underneath, preceding the word “introduction”.

Under this, one can list brainstormed ideas for the introduction paragraph of the paper. The final portion of this section should be dedicated to the thesis statement of the paper.

After that portion of the outline is finished, one can move on to the body paragraphs. Each of the Roman numerals used to label this part of the outline should denote a different subject area with respect to the poem that will be discussed in the essay. Letters under these numerals may be followed by subtopics within each subject area that are to be dealt within individual paragraphs (or sentences, if it is to be a shorter essay) within the body of the paper.

The final section of the outline is where the last Roman numeral is used in front of the word “conclusion”. The conclusion of the paper should contain a restatement of the thesis, preferably in different, yet recognizable wording. It should also include an overall concluding statement about your summarized viewpoint of the analyzed piece.

Poetry Analysis Essay Example

Essay Writing Advice From Our Professional Team

Fabokid, tutor from EssayPro

When it comes to poetry analysis, the tricky thing is to pinpoint literary devices and explain their meaning. When you pinpoint a literary device used in the poem (e.g. an anaphora) you want to explain its effect in the poem, not simply state that the author of the poem used an anaphora. As the article articulates, the structure and background of the poem is very important, but in case of analysis, it is of utmost importance to stress how background, structure, and literary devices influence the overall meaning of the poem as a whole. What message is it sending and what is it trying to say? Other literary devices that you should pay attention to are diction, imagery, and allusion. The background of the author will not always be available to you. For example, while you are taking an AP exam, pay attention to specific images and words that they use or the cultural references they make can really help you pinpoint where the author is from and assist you in writing your essay.

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