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TPCASTT Poetry Analysis

Title & Author of the Poem: ​“Kissing in Vietnamese” by Ocean Vuong

Title ​Before you even think about reading the poetry or Since Vietnamese is a language I think the title means that they can communicate through
trying to analyze it, speculate on what you think the
kissing. It also lets me know that there will be a cultural difference because it’s about the
poem ​might b​ e about based upon the title. Often time
authors conceal meaning in the title and give clues in the Vietnamese culture so I may be confused about some parts.
title. Jot down what you think this poem will be about…

Paraphrase ​Before you begin thinking about In this poem, the narrator is talking about his grandmother’s kisses and explains how they
meaning or tying to analyze the poem, don't overlook the
are different than other kisses. She kisses as if there is a war going on still and she might
literal meaning of the poem. One of the biggest problems
that students often make in poetry analysis is jumping to never see the narrator anymore. He uses vivid imagery of the war and the soldiers who are
conclusions before understanding what is taking place in losing limbs and being torn apart in battle. He contrasts it with the “flashy” western culture
the poem. When you paraphrase a poem, write in your kiss and says her kiss was more real and it was a way for her to reconnect with you and
own words exactly what happens in the poem. Look at become a part of you. He describes it by saying that she almost tries to breathe you in as if
the number of sentences in the poem—your paraphrase
she is protecting you and keeping you from dying. He ends the paragraph by repeating the
should have exactly the same number. This technique is
especially helpful for poems written in the 17th and 19th idea that she kisses him as if the war never ended and bodies were still being torn apart.
centuries. Sometimes your teacher may allow you to
summarize ​what happens in the poem. Make sure that
you understand the difference between a ​paraphrase ​and
a ​summary.​

Craft ​This refers to any and all poetic devices, Repetition of the phrase “as if” and the extended simile that comes with it that constantly
focusing on how such devices contribute to the
meaning, the effect, or both of a poem. You may
compares the situation to the time during the Vietnam war when everyone was afraid for
consider imagery, figures of speech (simile, metaphor, their life. The narrator says she kisses “as if bombs are bursting” and “as if somewhere, a
personification, symbolism, etc), denotation and body is falling apart”. He constantly refers back to the war and emphasizes the idea that
connotation, point of view, and sound devices the grandmother kisses as if she is afraid to lose her loved one and she cherishes every
(alliteration, onomatopoeia, rhythm, and rhyme). It is moment with her family because she has seen how quickly she can lose them.
not necessary that you identify all the poetic devices
within the poem. The ones you do identify should be
seen as a way of supporting the conclusions you are
going to draw about the poem.
Attitude​ ​Having examined the poem's devices and The narrator passionately describes his grandmother’s kisses and speaks with an
clues closely, you are now ready to explore the multiple
attitudes that may be present in the poem. Examination
appreciative and lighthearted tone. He knows that many people lost their family members
of diction, images, and details suggests the speaker's during the war and he, as well as his grandmother, cherishes his family and his time spent
attitude and contributes to understanding. You may refer with them. He could’ve described the war in a very negative way but instead, he talks
to the list of words on ​Tone ​that will help you. about it in almost a sentimental way. He mentions the brutality of the war and bodies
Remember that usually the tone or attitude cannot be “falling apart” but makes it seem like it is a good thing because it has made his
named with a single word Think ​complexity.
grandmother the way she is and made her more appreciative of her family.

Shift ​Rarely does a poem begin and end the poetic ​No shift.
experience in the same place. As is true of most of us,
the poet's understanding of an experience is a gradual
realization, and the poem is a reflection of that
understanding or insight. Watch for the following keys
to shifts:
• key words, (but, yet, however, although)
• punctuation (dashes, periods, colons, ellipsis)
• stanza divisions
• changes in line or stanza length or both
• irony
• changes in sound that may indicate changes in meaning
• changes in diction

Title Revisited ​Now look at the title again, but this ​This time the title means that the Vietnamese people who lived through the war have a
time on an interpretive level. What new insight does the
different way of kissing and showing their affection because they all lost people in the war
title provide in understanding the poem.
and understand the importance of family.

Theme ​What is the poem saying about the human People who have lived through war understand the value of their family because they
experience, motivation, or condition? What subject or
subjects does the poem address? What do you learn
know how fast they can lose them so they cherish the time they have.
about those subjects? What idea does the poet want you In the poem, the grandma has lived through the war so she kisses with more passion and as
to take away concerning these subjects? Remember that if she might lose the person she kisses in battle.
the theme of any work of literature is stated in a
complete sentence and expresses a clear lesson for the
Thesis Statement: ​By combining theme and craft, Vuong uses an extended simile to emphasize that people appreciate and cherish their
please construct a formal thesis statement
family more after living through a war because they understand how fast they can lose

How to write a THESIS STATEMENT for POETRY: ​Provided by Mrs. Blevins :)

EXAMPLE of a THESIS STATEMENT​ you will be required to master next year:

In William Shakespeare’s ​provocative, heartbreaking​ tragedy, ​Othello​, he ​utilizes​/uses/illustrates/demonstrates/shows/depicts both

common animal imagery and clipped, lewd language​ to illustrate that ​even the most noble and valiant of individuals can devolve and
mutate into beastial human beings and inelegant, base speakers.

Green illustrates my voice/opinion words;

Blue shows my two salient features;
Yellow indicates my theme statement.