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Analysis of Hand Shadows

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Kenzie D.

on 15 January 2016

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Transcript of Analysis of Hand Shadows

"Hand Shadows"
By Mary Cornish
Hand Shadows

"My father put his hands in the white light
of the lantern, and his palms became a horse
that flicked its ears and bucked; an alligator
feigning sleep along the canvas wall leapt up
and snapped its jaws in silhouette, or else
a swan would turn its perfect neck and drop
a fingered beak toward that shadowed head
to lightly preen my father's feathered hair.
Outside our tent, skunks shuffled in the woods
beneath a star that died a little every day,
and from a nebula of light diffused
inside Orion's sword, new stars were born.
My father's hands became two birds, linked
by a thumb, they flew one following the other"
—-Mary Cornish
BRAINSTORM
ELEMENTS
"My father's hands became two birds, linked by a thumb, they flew one following the other." (Cornish)
The last sentence we interpreted as the author trying to say how she and her father will always have a connection, one where they were almost, "linked by a thumb," and that one day she'll follow his path, they'll be together again, and they will be the birds flying "one following the other." The father's hands becoming birds represents holding his child’s hand, and guiding his child through their life. It’s like he’s saying, “Come with me, and I’ll show you the way.” I also think that the final lines represent the theme of this poem, with the birds and the hands representing the child and father. We know that birds often represent freedom and in this case, the child is, "freed" by the father, who is wanting to lead and guide his child through life as long as he is needed.
Unknown Vocab:
Preen- way of cleaning or grooming a birds feathers
The father is clean, tidy, and pure.

Feigning- pretending
They talk about the alligator pretending to be asleep, like her father is calm and quiet at most times but when he is passionate about something, he will show it.
Close readng and analysis on the poem "Hand Shadows" by Mary Cornish.
"My father put his hands in the white light of the lantern, and his palms became a horse that flicked its ears and bucked" (Cornish).
You write about what is important to you, so she obviously thinks that her dad is important to her life. Also, it talks about white light, which is often times associated with death. It also compares him to a horse, saying that he is playful.
"An alligator feigning sleep along the canvas wall leapt up and snapped its jaws in silouette..." (Cornish).
After reading the poem, we felt that the author was trying to describe and convey characteristics of her father, through the animals in her poem. In this case, the alligator represents his strength and how he was protective towards her.

"A swan would turn its perfect neck and drop a fingered beak toward the shadowed head to lightly preen my fathers feathered hair" (Cornish).
She is comparing her father to a swan which is magestic, graceful, kind, and gentle creature, so therefore she is saying her father, is a nice, neat, natural man who really cared for everyone he knew. We also didn't know what preen meant and we found that it is how a bird tidies its' feathers with its beak, which means that her father was also a very orderly and well kept.
"Beneath a
star that dies a little everyday
, and from a
nebula
of light diffused inside Orion's sword,
new stars were born
" (Cornish).
We learn from this that maybe her father had been sick for a while, since she talks about "a star that dies a little bit everyday", so maybe he had been sick and not really getting better. We know that a nebula is a place where stars are born, so when she talk about the "new stars" being born, it makes me think that when her father dies, someone new enters her life.
"Outside our tent, skunks shuffled in the woods..." (Cornish).
After analyzing this sentence, we took it to mean that the author was describing her father as nurturing and caring. As described as before we think the author uses animals to portray characteristics of her father, and here we believe the skunk is the caring and nice part of her father that.
Examples of Figurative language

The author used imagery in the poem when talking about "an alligator feigning sleep against a canvas wall leapt up and snapped its jaws in silhouette" (Cornish). When the author uses the imagery, it allows the reader to really picture what is going on in the poem. This imagery also helps the reader understand and picture an example of how the father is being compared to an alligator as strong and protective.
An example of personification in this poem is in the final line when the author states, "My father's hands became two birds, linked by a thumb, they flew one following the other" (Cornish). This is an example of personification because we know that a person's hands can not turn into birds and fly away. With the figurative language in this line, it allows us to think harder and learn that the author wants us to think that her father's hands represented their bond to each other, and when they fly away, their bond will always stick keeping them close together.
Examples of Figurative language
Another example of personification in the poem is when the author says, My father put his hands in the white light of the lantern, and his palms became a horse that flicked its ears and bucked" (Cornish). This is personification because we know that the palms of our hands can not become a horse. The author uses personification here to make the reader understand that she is comparing her father to the playful characteristics of a horse. Through the figuartive language in the poem we can begin to reveal the deeper meaning in each of the lines.
The author uses sensory language when describing the skunk outside of her tent and the birds flying in the sky. The author mentions the skunk shuffling through the woods and the birds that flew above them. These examples allow the reader to connect to the story or poem by getting a picture in their head or almost being able to imagine what those animals sound like in the poem and relate them to their own lives.

The poem also symbolizes the beauty of the world. We think that the father could be making shadow puppets which would explain the animals in the poem. The puppets the father is making could have either been bad or good, which is a metaphor for the world being bad and good. However, the author chose to make them good and beautiful, which shows that she chooses to focus on the good in the world rather than the bad. Through figurative language, we are able to uncover another possible message to the poem.

Initial impression to final analysis
Our initial impression of the poem was that we thought her father must mean the world to her, since she mentions her father from alligators to the stars. Our initial impression was still correct but here is our final analysis of the poem Hand Shadows by Mary Cornish.
There are many different aspects to everything. Something as simple as hand shadow puppets can transform from a crocodile, to two linked birds, to a swan. In life, you can't just look at things one sidedly, you need to look at it from different angles, because something that may look very bad can turn into something amazing.


In the last line “My father’s hands became two birds, linked by a thumb, they flew one following the other” represents the father holding his child’s hand, guiding his child through his/her life. It’s like he’s saying, “Come with me, and I’ll show you the way” (Cornish).

The father is teaching his child about life and guiding his child. The use of animals suggests the different sides of childhood, the positive side and enduring the hard times. The movements of the hand shadows reflect what the poem is about, the memory of childhood.
Another example is when the father makes two bird shadows. This is a metaphor for the speaker being linked genetically and emotionally to her dad and will follow him after he dies, just like when the author mentioned the stars that are always dying and being born.


https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwi6v6bjkKPKAhWKRyYKHaCSBG4QjRwIBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fdrama4kids.com%2Factivities%2F31-how-to-make-hand-shadow-puppets&psig=AFQjCNFH3YHsnCnUNmSSym0qL3cSdrhpZw&ust=1452648839320744
http://www.wild-life-rehab.com/what_if_i_find.html
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