Here are the instructions for our third response paper.
This week we read a poem, Pavese’s “The Paper-Smokers.” As you know, poems are generally complex literary texts, in which every word has been chosen by the author with care and every detail is important.
For this reason, I’m asking you to work on two of the most evocative images of the poem.
Even in the longer papers we will write in the future, it is important to focus on a few words, a few meaningful sentences, and to comment on them in depth.
Write a 1-page response (350-400 words) commenting on the following images: “And the trumpet writhed, / broke through the sonorous din, went back and forth / like a lonely soul in a dry silence”
“All at one he cried out / that it wasn’t destiny if the world suffered, / if the sunlight wrung out curses” For each of the two images, explain the context in which they are located, comment on the choice of words and the emotions they provoke (why is silence “dry”? what would be lost in saying only “silence” without adding the adjective “dry”? what sensations does the word “sunlight” refer to? why is the word “curses” added to “sunlight”? etc.), then give your interpretation of these images and explain how they contribute to the general meaning of the poem. If you feel you don’t have the space to work on both images, you can also choose to work on one of them – your response should only be more detailed.
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