Poetry Analysis – NWBD

Report
Poetry Analysis
with
“Not Waving But Drowning”
By Stevie Smith
(An all-time favorite)
Not Waving But Drowning: Read
Suggestions
• When first encountering a
poem, there is a wonderful
thing to do:
READ IT!
• I suggest reading it aloud, or if
you are in a quiet place
listening to it in your mind.
• Enjoy the rhythm of the poem,
and get a general sense of it.
The Poem
Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.
Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart
gave way,
They said.
Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.
Not Waving But Drowning: Re-read
Directions
• Our goal is to create a
traditional outline that breaks
down the poem into important
pieces that create meaning.
• We will finish by evaluating and
assigning meaning to the poem.
• The first step in our analysis is
to figure out what the poem is
actually about.
The Poem
Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.
Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart
gave way,
They said.
Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.
Step 1: What’s it all about?
The Traditional Outline
Not Waving But Drowning
I. What’s going on?
a) Dead man moans; they were
wrong about him
b) Other people think about
how silly he was; accident
c) Dead man insists that it was
no accident he’d always been
lonely, dying, drowning
The Poem: Not Waving But
Drowning
Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.
Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart
gave way,
They said.
Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.
Step 2: Poetic Devices
The Poem
Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.
Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart
gave way,
They said.
Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.
Outline Cont.
II. Poetic Devices
a) repetition
1. lay moaning
2. too cold
3. and not waving but
drowning
4. no no no
b) rhyme
1. dead/said
2. moan-ING/drown-ING
Step 3: Figurative Language
Outline Cont.
III. Figurative Language
a) personification
1. dead person talking
b) metaphors
1. too far out all my life
2. heart gave way
3. drowning
4. larking
The Poem
Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.
Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart
gave way,
They said.
Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.
Step 4: Mood/Tone
The Poem
Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.
Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart
gave way,
They said.
Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.
Outline Cont.
IV. Mood
a) LONELY/sad/depressed
1. nobody heard him
2. moaning/cold imagery
3. disagree with others, no
no no/all my life
V. Tone
b) sympathetic
1. gives dead man a voice
2. makes it clear/beautiful
The Outline in Full
“Not Waving But Drowning”
I. What’s going on?
a) Dead man moans; they were wrong about him
b) Other people think about how silly he was; accident
c) Dead man insists that it was no accident he’d always been lonely, dying, drowning
II. Poetic Devices
a) repetition
1. lay moaning
2. too cold
3. and not waving but drowning
4. no no no
b) rhyme
1. dead/said
2. moan-ING/drown-ING
III. Figurative Language
a) personification
1. dead person talking
b) metaphors
1. too far out all my life
2. heart gave way
3. drowning
4. larking
IV. Mood
a) LONELY/sad/depressed
1. nobody heard him
2. moaning/cold imagery
3. disagree with others, no no no/all my life
V. Tone
b) sympathetic
1. gives dead man a voice
2. makes it clear/beautiful
The Final Analysis and Evaluation
The Poem’s Meaning: Theme
• What do you think the main
theme of the poem is? Why?
• I think the main theme of “Not
Waving But Drowning” is: Be
honest. The dead man always
pretended to be happy, and so no
one knew the real him. He may
have seemed happy, but he was
lonely - “too cold always.” I think
Stevie Smith wants us to learn
from his mistake. If we’re
drowning, tell someone. Don’t
hide it!
The Poem’s Value: My Take
• Did you find this poem effective?
Which part was your favorite?
Why?
• I find this poem incredibly
effective. I think the poet has
chosen a topic everyone can relate
to and put it in beautiful, simple
language. My favorite part is the
central metaphor. So often when
we’re sad, we try to make it look
like we’re waving instead of
drowning. That really resonates
with me.
Your Jobs
Directions
• Step 1: Choose one of the
poem options.
• Step 2: Create your own
outline, top down chart, web,
etc. that covers the same steps
as our “Not Waving” outline.
• Step 3: Create a final analysis
and evaluation for the poem
you chose.
Poem Options and Hints
Poem Options:
“Song” p. 520, “Sleeping” p. 570,
“Gold” p. 571, “Workforce” p. 876
Hints: Other poetic devices
include: line breaks, rhythm,
onomatopoeia, etc.
Use your previous poetry notes.
Bonus: Find other poems in the
book or create your own to do
analyses of.

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