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Pat Swenson, CSUN - The Dream of a Common Language
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Prof Pat Swenson

Campus Email: pat.swenson@csun.edu

How to Analyze Poetry

Elements of Fiction

Literary Theory

Myth & Archetype: The Hero's Quest

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Department Information

Department of English

708 Sierra Tower
Phone: 818.677.3431

English Department Website


Liberal Studies Program

EA 100
Phone: 818.677.3300

Liberal Studies Website



The Dream of a Common Language by Adrienne Rich

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As you read all of the poems from "The Dream of a Common Language," please consider the following poetic elements:

1. The poem’s meaning and purpose.

2. The poem’s speaker, audience, rhetorical situation.

3. The poem’s placement in the book.

4. Use of Imagery: symbols, metaphors, similes, personification.

5. Line and stanza breaks.

6. The sound of language.

7. Tone and mood of voice and setting.

For your written analysis, choose any two poems from Rich’s book and write a minimum of 250 words per poem. Please describe all of the above-mentioned elements of poetry (for a total of 500 words typed and double-spaced). In addition, please include an annotation of both poems (you may xerox the poems or type them over). Your analysis constitutes 10% of your final grade. Please be prepared to share your thoughts with the class. Good luck!