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Transcript of TP-CASTT
A method for reading and analyzing poetry
Often times it's easy to read a poem or piece of literature without fully understanding what you have just read. The TP-CASTT method will allow you to take a deeper and more meaningful look at literature.
Each letter in TP-CASTT stands for a word that will help you remember to take a closer look at what you're reading. They go as follows:
T is for: Title
P is for: Paraphrase
C is for: Connotation
A is for: Attitude
S is for: Shifts
T is for: Title
T is for: Theme
Step one: Title
Take a look at the title and try to figure out what the poem may be about.
Step Two: Paraphrase
Put it in your own words and restate the plot, or the literal meaning of the poem
Step Three: Connotation
Words can have more than one meaning. Take time to consider any deeper or extended meaning.
Step Four: Attitude
Look at an author's diction. Why did he/she choose those particular words? Identify the attitude of the poem and then identify the literary devices that help express the tone.
Step Five: Shifts
Does the speaker ever change their attitude or tone? Carefully consider the poem and see if you can identify spots where the speaker's feelings change or shift.
Step Six: Title Again
Go back and examine the title after you have read and better understand the poem. You may know more about the title's meaning after reading the text.
Step Seven: Theme
You now know how to TP-CASTT. Use this tool to better understand poetry and other types of literature. Anyone can read the words, but to truly understand, you have to read "between the lines".
Seven easy steps to TP-CASTT
Now let's practice with a poem by Robert Frost entitled, "Fire and Ice"
Fire and Ice by Robert Frost
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I side with those who favor fire.
But if I had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
These words are opposites. Why are they in a title together?
Consider how the words in a title relate to each other, other literary works, you, the world…
Be sure to look up any words you don’t know.
Put into your own words lines or entire stanzas from the poem.
Don’t be fooled by a short poem. Sometimes those short poems are full of ideas.
The world will end from fire, possibly a result of desire.
The world could also end in ice, possibly the result of hatred.
Consider the emotional meanings of words, phrases, images, allusions, figurative language, symbolism.
Make connections among and between words
*What emotions could we connect with the words, fire and ice?
Fire a symbol for desire
Ice a symbol for hate
The author connects these words, and the emotional meanings are connected with the world ending. Hate will end the world; desire will end the world. These things are part of our human nature, but they can be destructive.
Look for Irony, understatement, hyperbole to determine emotional connections to topics.
The last line uses this word which seems understated compared to the topic of the world ending. The speaker sounds “matter of fact” about the causes of the ending.
Fire and ice are opposites, yet they both will end the world. This is a
(a contradictory yet true statement), and the author shows us that these extremes can both have the same result.
Attitude is how the speaker feels about the topic.
What exactly is the topic?
The speaker seems to be accepting and matter-of-fact. It seems that all things must end because human beings move between “desire” and “hate” all the time.
Look for changes in meter, rhyme scheme, topic, point of view, setting.
The shift of this poem occurs at the beginning when the author moves from the perspective of “some” to the personal pronoun “I” perspective. There seems to be a personal connection to how things will end.
Fire and Ice
What do these destructive forces mean to others?
What do they mean to the speaker. Not the end of the world but the end of something else—maybe a relationship?
Relationships can be destroyed by wanting something too much or by hating something.
This could be connected to personal relationships or connected globally to relations between countries.
This could also be connected with death, and the end of the world. This is a universal question that most people contemplate.
T Title (again
What a great strategy for understanding what a poem means!
Examine the theme of the poem. What is the main idea or message of the poem. Is the author trying to teach you something about life or the human condition? What does the poem mean to you? What did you learn?