Purpose: To study Hemingway’s war poetry in a focused and sustained way; and to develop close reading skills of poetic language; linked to the Communication: Reading liberal learning outcome
Directions: First, read all of the Hemingway war poetry on the “Legends and Traditions” web page, and do listen to Dr. Martin’s online recording for the week, too. If there’s one theme or item of notice that punctuates Hemingway’s ten poems here, it is the repeated portrayal of death and dying, a natural offshoot of war. In a focused, 4-5 page essay, excluding the “Works Cited” page, consider the way that death – whether literally depicted as “dead bodies” (“All armies,” 7) or through connotation – is portrayed in about three-to-four of the poems here. Look closely at Hemingway’s word choices associated with death and dying from the conflict depicted, and provide a close reading of these lines. It is not sufficient to observe that death is present in the poems: that is both obvious of most war writing and the given of the assignment. It is not sufficient to observe awfulness of death in war: that, too, is obvious. Rather, offer a thesis statement at the end of your opening paragraph that says something specific and interesting about the way Hemingway portrays death in these poems.
In a concluding paragraph, do not simply summarize; instead, perhaps citing specific depictions, try to draw a larger conclusion for what Hemingway is doing with his repeated emphasis on the theme.
Recommendation: The best essays, the ones deserving the highest grade, will not do mere individual summaries of each Hemingway poem separately; but instead will synthesize the poems together, making direct comparisons of specific lines in multiple poems within the same paragraph. After the opening body paragraph, begin this process in your next ones;
compare and synthesize the poems together from the second paragraph forward, in other words.