Can you help me with my English paper?

Overview: This assignment asks you to identify one symbol or use of figurative language in a poem we have read so far and make a claim regarding its significance. You will then support your claim by referring to specific examples from the poem. Your final paper should be no more than one page in length.


  1. Demonstrate your understanding of formal poetic elements.
  2. Demonstrate your ability to make a written critical claim and support that claim by making logical, clear connections to relevant evidence.
  3. Demonstrate your ability to closely read and understand a poem by selecting strong examples from the poem to support your claim.
  4. Practice concise, focused writing given the constraints of the assignment length.

Audience: Your audience is your instructor. That means your audience expects college-level academic writing that follows the guidelines of the assignment and is largely free of grammatical errors. It also means that your audience is very familiar with all of the poems we are reading as a class, and therefore does not need a summary or introduction.

Content Requirements:

  • Your Very Short Paper (VSP) must include a claim regarding a symbol or instance of figurative language you have identified in the poem, supporting evidencefrom the poem, and logical connections between your claim and the supporting evidence you have selected.
    • Claim:
      • Your claim MUST be about the significance of a symbol or use of figurative language you have identified. It should not be a statement of fact or a reaction to the poem.
        • A symbol or example of figurative language is significant when it is being used intentionally in the poem to build part of the poem’s larger meaning. Simply stating that an image is a symbol, or that a poem contains a metaphor, does not explain how that symbol or metaphor functions, nor why it is significant. You MUST explain the how and why.
        • How do we determine the significance of a symbol or figurative language?
      • Your claim should be the first sentence of your VSP. Remember, your audience doesn’t need an introduction or summary.
      • Your claim should be 1 sentence in length.
    • Supporting Evidence:
      • If you’re writing about a symbol:
  • Determine if it is a public or private symbol and explain how you know.
  • Point to examples in the poem that let you know the image you’ve identified is functioning as a symbol. What makes it have more meaning beyond a literal definition? How do you know?
  • Use specific lines and words from the poem as support.
  • If you’re writing about figurative language:
  • Identify what kind of figurative language is being used and how you have made that determination.
  • Unpack the figurative language by explaining what it means in the context of the poem. How does it connect to poem’s larger meaning? How do you know?
  • Use specific lines and words from the poem as support.
  • Logical Connections:
    • You must demonstrate your ability to articulate the connection between the supporting evidence you select and the overall claim you are making. Simply pasting a line from the poem into your paper and stating it supports your claim is NOT sufficient. You must address how and why the evidence supports your claim.


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