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Analyzing Poetry with SIFT (On Wiesel's Night)

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by

Joel Agee

on 12 January 2015

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Transcript of Analyzing Poetry with SIFT (On Wiesel's Night)

Analyzing Poetry Using
SIFT
the
method
I cannot teach this book. Instead,
I drop copies on their desks,
like bombs on sleeping towns,
and let them read. So do I, again.

The stench rises from the page
and chokes my throat.
The ghosts of burning babies
haunt my eyes.
And that bouncing baton,
that pointer of Death,
stabs me in the heart
as it sends his mother
to the blackening sky.

Nothing is destroyed
the laws of science say—
only changed.
The millions transformed into
precious smoke ride the wind
to fill our lungs and hearts
with their cries.

No, I cannot teach this book.
I simply want the words
to burn their comfortable souls
and leave them scarred for life.

On Wiesel's
Night
by Thomas E. Thornton
S
I
F
T
ymbols
tangible objects
that represent
intangible ideas
Symbol Sifting
just look for
possible
symbols:
check out the
title
check out the
objects
what they might
mean
comes later
mages
not just what you see
all five senses:
sight, sound, touch,
taste, smell
Image Sifting
look for big,
detailed
images
are the images
similar or diverse
?
igurative
Language
metaphors, similes
hyperbole, onomatopoeia,
personification, alliteration
colors, sounds,
scents, textures,
flavors
Figurative Language
Sifting
one /
heme
the writer's attitude
about the topic
lessons the poem tries to teach about life
always a complete sentence
Tone Sifting
does the writer seem
about the topic?
excited
disappointed
enraged
embarrassed
joyful
meh
sad
longing
broken up
jealous
silly
amused
Theme Sifting
usually your last step
put the pieces you found together
symbols
images
figures
sensory details
writer's attitude
what's the message
about life?
how do the comparisons work?
how are the comparisons alike?
what's the effect of the comparison?
PRACTICE
locate and write down
all the tangible objects
in the poem
PRACTICE
choose one stanza in the poem and
write a word/phrase description
for each of the five senses
PRACTICE
on the text of the poem
underline any five examples of figurative language
and label what kind of figurative language
PRACTICE
for each stanza write a word/phrase
that describes the emotional effect
of that stanza by itself
PRACTICE
if the
topic
of this poem is "teaching the memoir
Night
"
based on all the evidence you've S.I.F.T.ed out,
what is this poem's message about the memoir Night and why it's difficult to teach?
Full transcript