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Totally like whatever, you know? Poem Presentation

In this prezi, we analyze the unique features of the poem Totally like whatever, you know? by Taylor Mali

Peifu Mo

on 6 November 2013

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Transcript of Totally like whatever, you know? Poem Presentation

In this poem, the tone changes drastically as the poem progresses. This shift in tone is key to understanding the position of the author on the issues addressed.
In the poem several instances of syntax is used. Recall that syntax is grammatical sentence structure.
Accented Words
Thesis Statement/Theme
In the poem "Totally like whatever, you know?" by Taylor Mali, the author reveals that people of our generation have a higher tendency to be followers than leaders since they have regressed to a manner of communication that emulates inarticulation and a lower lever of self-assurance.
Structural Elements and Literary Devices
The author Taylor Mali incorporates a variety of literary devices and style choices to express himself clearly. Lets take a closer look into some of them.
Example 1
In line 7, the author says "Even when those sentences aren't, like, questions? You know?" At the end of this line, Mali adds the words "You know?" because it is confusing and somewhat annoying. He is mirroring the way teens speak these days. By doing so, Mali can show the reader how foolish this form of speech is.
Example 2
In line 15, the author writes "It's like what I've heard?" Mali phrases this line in an interrogative tone in order to mimic the way teens speak. Once again, this shows the audience how choppy and amateurish people of the current generation talk.
Diction is basically word choice. This literary feature contains hints at what the author's attitude is towards something.
Example 1
On lines 9-10, Mali says, "(declarative sentences) have been infected by a tragically cool interrogative tone?" By using the word infected, the author displays the severe negative impact of the new trend. This word reflects Mali's strong dislike of unnecessary interrogative tones.
Example 2
In lines 2-3, the author says "it has somehow become uncool to sound like you know what you're talking about?" By using the word uncool, Taylor suggests that people will pretend to lack conviction in order to gain a higher popularity status. Everyone wants to be "cool". If talking with conviction takes it away from them, then they will not speak that way.
Repetition in this poem is put into great use by Mali by showing how our everyday language has become filled with unnecessary words.
Lack of Structure
This isn't really a single element of the poem, rather a lack of the elements of structure. This writer's choice allows Mali to communicate his theme regarding inarticulation.
Pick a side:
Journal Time!
Spend no more than six minutes writing a brief journal.

Your prompt: Is our modern style of communication a flaw or rather a byproduct of modernization?

Taylor Mali reading the poem

"Like,don't think I'm uncool just because I've noticed this" (Mali 13).
Example 1:
In this line, the author questions the opinion of the reader. He also appears to be on the defensive from the new generation of inarticulate humans. The author also has a very demanding tone in this line. He believes that the topic is worth addressing and solving. This new generation does not find these types of problems "cool" or worthy of attention. Whoever does is quickly judged and often times given the label of being "uncool"
Example 2:
"I challenge you: to speak with conviction" (Mali 33).
In this line, the author has a very defying tone. He wants his readers and people of the new generations to speak with confidence, strength, and strong belief and break free from the speech of the new modern world. It appears as though the author wants strongly for this issue to be extinguished. His use of the word "challenge" creates a more serious tone. The word "challenge" makes the reader feel weak and hopeless. Mali makes it seem as though the new generation has no hope, and that it has become a challenge to speak with conviction. The new generations have a lower sense of self-assurance and this is noticeable in their speech.
In this poem, there are only two occurrences of accented words, but they are very important on understanding the text.
Example 1:
"Declarative sentences--so--called because they used to like, DECLARE things to be true, okay (Mali 8-9)
Example 2:
"It is not enough these days to simply QUESTION AUTHORITY, you have to speak with it too.
In this example, the author is showing how one of
our sentences that are strong and convey authority in our voice is now vanishing away. Declarative sentences used to declare things true is what he is saying. Since of our new ways of speaking, this type of language has disappeared and a new way to speak has come this generation.
The last example is actaully the last two lines of the poem, which is one of the most important lines in the poem. The author is showing the reader that in this generation, the way we speak has turned into a way where we only question authority. Speaking with authority is what we now lack and this was the way where we could show that we are strong, independent people with our own beliefs. Speaking with authority is a way people could have shown who they really are. Mali shows that the way we speak is clearly not showing authority with all the random words we repeat in our everyday conversations, which is shown multiple times in this poem.
In this poem, the author's use of parallelism is key to understanding the lack of structure and confidence in our everyday speech. Mali uses parallelism to show his conviction in his words and to display the cold truth that has plagued the new generations.
Example 1:
Example 2:
Throughout the whole poem, Mali repeats one word and a phrase multiple times. The one word is "like". Mali is trying to show us that when we speak, we use silly words such as "like" when they aren't really intentional or necessary for the sentence we are saying. The way he puts this word into the poem depicts the way we use it so well because he uses it in a way that we would also use it in our generation.
Example 1:
"I entreat you, I implore you, I exhort you, I challenge you"
(Mali 32-33)
The phrase that Mali repeats multiple times thoroughout the poem is "You know?" In our everyday language, it is evident that at the end of the sentence a lot of people put that certain phrase or a phrase similar to it. This is not proper English and is a type of slang. As I said before, using phrases like this does not speak with authority which is something we clearly lack in our conversations.
In these lines, Mali shows parallelism by having similar structure and sound in his words. This is done to show that in this new world, there is no difference or character in speech. Things spoken are not specific to an individual or valuable to an individual anymore. They are repeated and embraced by majorities. The author uses "I" repeatedly to symbolize that this issue of
dis-articulation is specific to him and his generation of people. This helps show that people have become followers instead of leaders.
Example 2:
"Because contrary to the wisdom of the bumper sticker"
(Mali 36)
In this line, Mali shows how the new generations act upon receiving information. We tend to believe information that is on bumper stickers instead of information from books and primary sources. The bumper sticker should not have wisdom but unfortunately, it does. This shows how inarticulate and dependent we have become. We cannot even speak for ourselves so instead, we follow and live the the messages displayed on bumper stickers.
Lack of Meter Pattern
All poems have meter, but most poems have a structure or pattern to their meter. Mali purposefully varies the number of syllables per line and whether the end syllable is stressed or unstressed. He uses this to show the lack of flow and rhythm that is present in our speech since rhythm and flow are associated with structure. Having structure communicates self-assurance and certainty. People who are certain of themselves exude the qualities of a leader.
Example #1: First four lines of poem: 7, 8, 11, 10 syllables
Example #2: Last three lines: 15, 16, 7
Lack of a Rhyme Scheme
Generally, if you read through the poem, you can pick up whether there is a rhyme scheme present. After an initial read-through, it seems like there isn't a rhyme scheme present, and there really isn't a rhyme scheme. Poems that have a rhyme scheme have more order to them, and Mali doesn't include a rhyme scheme to show how our speech nowadays has become less structural and less convicted. Rhyme can also be used as a method to form connections, and Mali implies that we do not connect our ideas together when we communicate. There isn't really two examples of this since this is consistent throughout the whole poem.

- Go through first few lines attempting to mark rhyme, then mark lines later in poem
One Single Stanza
Most poems are divided into stanzas that organize the poem based on what how the author wishes to present the poem. Mali purposefully writes in only one stanza to communicate his theme of disarticulation and its effect on our society. Since the poem is essentially all one blob of text, Mali shows that our communication lacks the structured, point based manner of speech that gives forth to confidence and the attitudes of a leader.
Totally like whatever, you know?
- By Taylor Mali

Essentially, we are going to have a group discussion. Expand on your viewpoint and provide your insight towards this prompt.
Example 3
In lines 25-26, Mali says " That we've just gotten to the point where it's just, like... whatever!" Here, the author sounds like he doesn't know how to express himself. This reflects how teenagers do not know how to convey their feelings accurately to the outside world. Mali also means that he has no words to describe the current level of society.
Read with the class
Now we are going to read the poem as a class. As we are reading, mark down anything that you notice in the margins.
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