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More Unpacking Meaning in Poetry.  Describe the topic or purpose for each of the assigned poems.    What does the Duke want the reader to know?    What is the speaker in “The Flea” trying to accomplish?   What does the Frost poem mean literally?    Now move into the metaphoric, symbolic or connotative meanings of the poems.    What does the poem say without saying it literally?    For instance in “My Last Duchess” the speaker says “Fra Pandolf’s hands/Worked busily a day” to paint that picture.   What does that tell us about the duchess’ ability to interact with others?  Look at how the elements work together to create the meaning of the poem.
Booth, Alison, and Kelly J. Mays, Eds.  The Norton Introduction to Literature. Portable 10th  Ed. New York

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