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by Langston Hughes
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run? 5
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load. 10
Or does it explode?
1. Of the six images, five are similes. Which is a metaphor? Explain the effectiveness of each comparison.
2. To what does the pronoun “it” (line 6) refer?
It sifts from Leaden Sieves
by Emily Dickenson
It sifts from Leaden Sieves --
It powders all the Wood.
It fills with Alabaster Wool
The Wrinkles of the Road --
It makes an Even Face 5
Of Mountain, and of Plain --
Unbroken Forehead from the East
Unto the East again --
It reaches to the Fence --
It wraps it Rail by Rail
Till it is lost in Fleeces -- 10
It deals Celestial Vail
To Stump, and Stack -- and Stem --
A Summer's empty Room --
Acres of Joints, where Harvests were,
Recordless, but for them-- 15
It Ruffles Wrists of Posts
As Ankles of a Queen --
Then stills its Artisans -- like Ghosts --
Denying they have been --
3. The poem consists essentially of metaphors with the same literal term identified only as “It.” What is “It”? What are the “Leaden Sieves”?
4. In several of these metaphors the figurative term is named-“Alabaster” (3), “Fleeces” (11), “Celestial Veil” (12). In two of them however, the figurative term as well as the literal term is left unnamed. To what is “It” compared in lines 1-2? In lines 17-18?
5. Comment on the additional metaphorical expressions or complications contained in “Leaden Sieves” (1), “Alabaster Wool” (3), “Even Face” (5), “Unbroken Forehead” (7), “A Summer’s empty Room” (14). “Artisans” (19).
The Author to Her Book
Thou ill-formed offspring of my feeble brain,
Who after birth didst by my side remain,
Till snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true,
Who thee abroad, exposed to public view,
Made thee in rags, halting to th' press to trudge, 5
Where errors were not lessened (all may judge).
At thy return my blushing was not small,
My rambling brat (in print) should mother call,
I cast thee by as one unfit for light,
The visage was so irksome in my sight; 10
Yet being mine own, at length affection would
Thy blemishes amend, if so I could.
I washed thy face, but more defects I saw,
And rubbing off a spot still made a flaw.
I stretched thy joints to make thee even feet, 15
Yet still thou run'st more hobbling than is meet;
In better dress to trim thee was my mind,
But nought save homespun cloth i' th' house I find.
In this array 'mongst vulgars may'st thou roam.
In critic's hands beware thou dost not come, 20
And take thy way where yet thou art not known;
If for thy father asked, say thou hadst none;
And for thy mother, she alas is poor,
Which caused her thus to send thee out of door.
6. On which figure of speech is this poem based? What similarities does the speaker find between her book and the item to which she compares it?
7. How does the speaker’s attitude toward her book develop throughout the poem? Why does she instruct her book to deny it has a father?
I taste a liquor never brewed
by Emily Dickenson
I taste a liquor never brewed,
From tankards scooped in pearl;
Not all the vats upon the Rhine
Yield such an alcohol!
Inebriate of air am I, 5
And debauchee of dew,
Reeling, through endless summer days,
From inns of molten blue.
When landlords turn the drunken bee
Out of the foxglove's door, 10
When butterflies renounce their drams,
I shall but drink the more!
Till seraphs swing their snowy hats,
And saints to windows run,
To see the little tippler 15
Leaning against the sun!
8. In this extended metaphor, what is being compared to alcoholic intoxication?
9. What figurative meanings have the following details: “Tankards scooped in Pearl” (2), “inns of Molten Blue” (8), “snowy hats” (13).
10. What typical scene does the last stanza create?
From Shakespeare’s Hamlet
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep; 5
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub; 10
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, 15
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make 20
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will 25
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought, 30
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.
11. Identify and interpret the metaphors in lines 1-5.
12. Identify and interpret the metaphors in lines 11-15.
13. Identify and interpret the metaphors in lines 24-25.
14. Paraphrase lines 15-27.
15. Paraphrase lines 28-33.
16. Interpret in the metaphors in lines 28-33.
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