Complexity of Poetry

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Allison Gilpin
Dr. Jones
English 102
20 July, 2012
Complexity of Poetry
Poetry is a way for the reader to openly interpret a poem in almost any way they see fit. Because there is so much freedom of interpretation with poetry, there leaves a lot of room for discussion and opposition. Billy Collin’s poem, “Introduction to Poetry”, breaks down the basic ways for interpreting and understanding a poem. In summary, he explains that the reader cannot focus on trying to figure out one specific meaning of a poem, but instead, try to piece together small parts to understand a deeper meaning. Collin’s rules on how to interpret a poem can be applied to Hughes’s poem about a young student writing a poem for homework. Instead of looking at Hughes’s poem as a whole, the reader can better understand it by breaking it down and figuring out why each line is important and how it ties together with the poem as a whole. Understanding Collins rules to interpret a poem, help the reader decipher Hughes poem on a deeper, more academic level. Langston Hughes’s poem explains how a black, twenty two year old man and the rest of his white classmates are given an assignment to write a paper. The narrator, who is also the student, explains his thoughts about the assignment and how him being the only colored one in his class might be reflected on his grade on the assignment. At the beginning of the poem, he explains how he has to get to class everyday by traveling across some of the “better” parts of town. The student goes on to explain how even though he is colored, he likes the same things and has the same wants as everyone else. He states that he is no different than the rest of his class and that he too has knowledge to share. By stating this, the student is expressing to the reader how he thinks him and the instructor are equal. In the last few lines the student writes, “As I learn from you, / I guess you learn from me” (37-38). This explains how even though their skin color and age...
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