Saturday, April 27, 2013


AP test practice is a love hate relationship

·         Attitude of authors to Helen-shifts, connotation-diction of words used on her, theme of poem towards Helen(does she look good or bad)

·         Remember its speaker’s views not authors

·         2 shifts, beginning not happy with her, than talks about daughter of love, then says she needs to be buried, speaker presents her almost like a brat born into a rich family daughter of Gods, opens up with hates which sets the tone for the rest of the play
·         Describes her has white, describing her out ward beauty as olives, God’s daughter: born into high rank, laid: dead at her funeral,
·         Starts out with beauty, uses imagery like perfume of the ocean  to set the tone towards Helen , 2 shifts/ describes how great she is, goes to glory of Greece and Rome, goes back to how great she is,
·         Classic face: she looks perfect like an old English painting, gently/beauty/statue like (makes her seem unreal in her beaut)

Both speakers in each poem have an opinion towards Helen’s beauty and relation to Greece but only one is positive towards her. H.D.’s speaker describes Helen’s beauty with negative diction and imagery and uses the second shift to say Greece wants her dead. Po’s speaker uses complimenting words towards Helen’s beauty to make her seem Goddess like and uses the first shift in tone to relate her to Greece’s glory.
Both speakers use two shifts in the poem but H.D.’s uses them to present Helen negatively and Po’s uses them in her favor. H.D.’s speaker starts out with an angry tone and continues with this tone until he talks about her as being a daughter of a God. This first shift serves as a dual purpose. The first is to present her in a positively light before throwing her down a well again and make her appear as high class. The second purpose hurts her more than helps because she could be seen as a rich brat. After this supportive shift towards Helen’s status he throws her into the well with the third shift and by describing how Greece wants her dead. Po’s speaker starts out with a highly romantic and Goddess-like tone. Then he shifts the poem to admiring of Greece’s glory. This relates Helen with Greece’s success. The speaker then shifts back to admiring Helen which finishes the poem without talking about her negatively.
Each speaker has opinions about Helen’s beauty and they convey their opinions through certain diction and connotation. Po’s speaker uses words like beauty, gentle, and statue like to create an image of a women that is surreal.  The speaker isn’t trying to say she looks like a statue but that she is so perfect that it’s hard to believe she is real. He also calls her face “classic”. Old English paintings where drawn in a way to compliment royalty unrealistically. The speaker can’t believe Helen’s unrealistic beauty is real. H.D.’s speaker starts out with the word “hate” to introduce Helen. He does not like her and the further use of the color “white” when describing Helen makes her seem pasty and not pleasant to look at. By calling her a “God’s daughter” the connotation behind those words is ranking of social calls higher than mortals. The speaker thinks she is a brat born into a high ranking class. The connotation in the last two lines of the poem implies the speaker will only be happy when she is dead at her funeral.
Both speakers have something to say about Helen but their opinions don’t agree with each other. Po’s speaker uses certain literary techniques to make Helen appear Goddess like while the other uses the same techniques to describe as a ghost like and should be dead.

Essay1999 Poem “Blackberry-Picking” (Seamus Heaney)
·         Pay attention to physical intensity, describe deeper understanding of the experience and literal but  mostly experience

·         Diction/how he describes things-imagery, attitude-shifts, similes-connotation

1.       Flesh/clot/knot/plate of eyes/sweet flesh
2.       One shift at the end where he cries, subtle darkness and playful blood lust atmosphere,
3.       Like thickened wine: summer’s blood was in it, like a plate of eyes, flesh was sweet: means berries skin, summer’s blood: time has ripened the berries with very sweet juice,

Seamus Heaney uses several literary techniques to create an experience outside of a literal one. He uses certain diction and imagery to create a tone of playful blood lust in the simple act of berry picking. There is more added to the experience with similes and lines that have connotative meaning.
There is connotative meaning everywhere in the poem and similes to help understand the experience of the poem. The line “like thickened wine: summer’s blood was in it” is talking about very sweet berry juice and ripening time.  The connotation behind this line is not dark but by combining a slimily with words that have connotative meaning the poet creates an experience that is psychopathic. The audience feels like there inside a murderer’s head with this line “like plate of eyes”. Here the simile is between berries and eyes which take away from any positive or normative tone berries would usually give off. The connotation behind the simile is a pile of berries covered streaks of juice (blood vessels in eyes). The experience of a young boy picking berries is twisted into by a perception from a psychopath.
                The poet’s attitude throughout the poem is playful blood lust until the shift in the last three lines.   Heaney uses several words throughout the poem that create this tone. Flesh is repeated several times throughout the poem to turn an innocent image of a small berry into a small skin bag of blood. Other words like clots and eyes emphasize the images of blood vessels. The tone remains playful while at the same time dark because of phrase like “sweet flesh” and constantly switching from normal settings to violent descriptions of blood berries. The word choice, imagery, and tone remain the same until the shift. Suddenly the blood thirsty poet is a small crying boy.  This attitude shift hints at the meaning behind the poem and makes the experience less psychotic and more innocent.
                Heaney uses several literary techniques throughout the poem and each help to convey his literal experience into a violent one. Diction and tone are key throughout the poem and the imagery resulting from these techniques is dark.


  1. Good job on your essays! I like the points you made.

  2. Sorry I'm so late with my comment!

    Outside of a slightly formulaic sounding introduction, I liked how you wrote the first essay. The second gives me a really good idea of what the poem is about without me having to study it very in depth myself. Good job!