Deep Dive

NOTE: THIS IS NOT TIME-SENSITIVE. IF YOU NEED TO TURN IT IN LATER BECAUSE YOU ARE PREPARING FOR THE SCIENCE TEST, THAT IS TOTALLY FINE!

Turn of the 20th Century Poetry Deep Dive

In-class work on F 2/10, M 2/13, T 2/15, and W 2/15.

Due for all sections by end of school day on Th 2/16!


Learning Targets:

  • Closely read and analyze (identify and explain) the purpose and meaning of a poem.
  • Determine the meaning of words, not just literal meaning but more metaphorical and symbolic meaning.
  • Read and analyze (identify and explain) the poem in its historical context, applying what we’re learning in American Studies History to the poem.
  • Analyze (identify and explain) the impact of literary, historical, political, and cultural allusions in the poem.
  • Use and cite specific words and lines from the poem to support my ideas.

Choose one of the poems we’ve read in our study of the Turn of the 20th Century to dive really deep into — from Voices of the West, Voices of Women, or Voices from the Cities.

  • “The PowWow at the End of the World” Alexie
  • “They Shut Me Up in Prose” Dickinson
  • “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” Dickinson
  • “We Wear the Mask” Dunbar
  • “Sympathy” Dunbar
  • “Chicago” Sandburg
  • “I am the People, the Mob” Sandburg
  • “Pioneers! O Pioneers” Whitman
  • “I Hear America Singing” Whitman
  • “The New Colossus” Lazarus

Do a very careful, close reading and analysis of your chosen poem. What does the poem mean to you? How do you construct this meaning from the poem?

Prepare some kind of display for your interpretation. You can sketchnote it using both images and sentences, create some kind of online display or presentation (check out ideas on Tech and always feel free to try out new platforms!), write a formal paragraph, or anything else you would like to do. Whatever form your interpretation takes, be sure to do the following:

  1. Explain what you think the poem means.
  2. Refer to specific words or lines to support your interpretation.
  3. Explain what you think readers should take away from the poem. If the persona in the poem is a “Wiser,” and the poem is “Words of the Wiser,” what is the poem saying?
  4. Explain how you think this poem reflects the history, culture, society, issues, or questions we’ve been discussing in our study of the Turn of the 20th Century. Connect the poem to what you’re learning with Mr. Taft.
  5. Be sure to hit every learning target listed above.

You of course can interpret the poem in many different ways. However, your interpretation MUST be supported with evidence from the poem itself.


If your work is digital, submit it via GoogleClassroom. If it’s hard copy, give it to me. Please make sure your name and section are on your work!