Moth: Poetry

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The Lesson of the Moth By Don Marquis

Study the poem, “The Lesson of the Moth.” 1. The author does not use any punctuation throughout the poem. Explain why you think he did this.

2. What type of figurative language is used mainly throughout the poem? Give examples from the poem.

3. The word choice is important in this poem because it impacts the mood and then the reader. Find examples where you think the word choice is important to the mood and how it impacts the reader.

4. Are human beings too civilized to enjoy themselves? Explain.

5. Do you agree with the moth’s point of view or the narrator’s?

I Just Want to Say

©2002, 2003 www.BeaconLearningCenter.com 1

Rev 2/12/2003

Mother to Son By Langston Hughes

1. What poetic device is being used mainly throughout this poem?

2. Line length seems to play an important role here. Why do you think the author used line length the way he did?

3. The author’s sensory language gives you a “picture” of what the mother is describing. Find examples of sensory language and explain how they create mood or meaning in the poem.

4. How do the writer’s words impact the reader?

5. The writer used slang throughout the course of the poem. Find examples of slang and then explain why he used it.

6. What do the following lines mean to you? “Don’t you set down on the steps” “Don’t you fall now” “And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair”

I Just Want to Say

©2002, 2003 www.BeaconLearningCenter.com 2

Rev 2/12/2003

The Lesson of the Moth By Don Marquis

Study the poem, “The Lesson of the Moth.” 1. The author does not use any punctuation throughout the poem. Explain why you think he did this. Students should indicate that the constant attention the reader must pay to the poem and the non stop flow of the poem are much like a moth skitters across the light bulb. 2. What type of figurative language is used mainly throughout the poem? Give examples from the poem. Personification. Examples will vary. 3. The word choice is important in this poem because it impacts the mood and then the reader. Find examples where you think the word choice is important to the mood and how it impacts the reader. Examples will vary, but students may explain that the words chosen for the moth are short and concise and help show how the reader that the moth is moving quickly and making quick decisions.

4. Are human beings too civilized to enjoy themselves? Explain. Answers will vary. 5. Do you agree with the moth’s point of view or the narrator’s? Answers will vary.

I Just Want to Say

©2002, 2003 www.BeaconLearningCenter.com 3

Rev 2/12/2003

Mother to Son By Langston Hughes

1. What poetic device is being used mainly throughout this poem? Metaphor 2. Line length seems to play an important role here. Why do you think the author used line length the way he did? The line length was used to punctuate the importance of some of the words used. Also, it could be indicating how sometimes stairs can be short, long, easy to climb and not so easy to climb. But, answers will vary. This is a very subjective question. 3. The author’s sensory language gives you a “picture” of what the mother is describing. Find examples of sensory language and explain how they create mood or meaning in the poem. Student examples will vary but should indicate that the mother’s mood is serious because life hasn’t been easy. The meaning of the poem is to keep trying no matter what. 4. How do the writer’s words impact the reader? The words the writer chooses are serious and descriptive and impact the reader because the reader knows how hard things may be and with the final lines, the reader also feels that they shouldn’t give up because things have been hard. Again, explanations will vary. 5. The writer used slang throughout the course of the poem. Find examples of slang and then explain why he used it. Examples will vary but students should indicate the use of slang makes the mother sound...
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