May 3, 2012

Young Adult Literature: The Class (Day 11)

""The whole point of writing... is to create and share knowledge."

Day eleven is one of the few days with no spoilers! Yayhee! Technically I'm combining two days, but it makes sense, so why not!?

We kicked off first by talking about what's good for close reading and thesis statements. This might help some of you still in school.

According to the professor, her advice for close reading is, "Details, details, details!" She wants every quote followed with an explanation and analysis; she doesn't want the quote stuck in just for the sake of sticking the quote in.

As for the thesis, she wants it to be four things:
  • About the text.
  • Debatable.
  • Specific.
  • Enriching.

To get to that, she says it's a good idea to start by asking questions about the text - why are certain things the way they are? Combine that with a good close analysis and you'd get a good thesis.

And now, onto the actual text we'll be talking about -- young adult poetry!

We took a look at a crown of sonnets about Emmett Till. (Here, have a documentary.)

But what is a sonnet?

A Petrarchan sonnet, the kind we're reading, is a fourteen line poem divided into an octave (eight lines) and a sestet/volta (six lines). It's written in iambic pentameter, which is five unstressed (u) syllables divided by five iambs (/) or stressed syllables.

The octave set is divided into a rhyming pattern of abba abba, while the sestet has a varied but structured rhyme scheme, such as cde cde.

In this case, it's a lyric poem, where the speacker acknowledges her own thoughts and feelings.

She's using literature to understand the history.

I've included a snapshot of one of the poems below and the markups of it we did in class - marking the iambic pentameter, the rhyme scheme, the literary elements used.

Sorry for semi-crappy quality. My normal camera is in the shop.

But what is it that makes this poetry for young adults?

We decided it was because of the voice of the protaganists -- seemingly a young adult for the most part. It seems a bit wisdom-y or preachy, which fits the stereotype of some young adult literature. This happens to tie into education that would happen in schools,.

But poetry as a whole tends to transcend age limitations.

Question for the comments:
Can poetry have an age group? Why?

Did you miss a class?:
(Day 1)
(Day 2)
(Day 3)
(Day 4)
(Day 5)
(Day 6)
(Day 7)
(Day 8)
(Day 9)
(Day 10)

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