Poetry Essay

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Question Description

Here is your ESSAY 4, the poetry essay. After reading the directions carefully, and when you are finished writing, please submit the essay for grading.

ESSAY 4 DIRECTIONS

First, explain in simple contemporary language what is going on in each set of lines (or stanza)—write as if this were being said today in a local club or bar. In other words, change the language here from that of late 19th century England to that of a club in your city or region today.

Then explain about the narrator’s (the speaker's in the poem--not Thomas Hardy's) argument about why he killed the man. Then, based on his language and delivery, explain his argument--whether or not he feels he did the right thing when he killed the man. Finally, explain the narrator’s attitude (or feelings) toward war itself.

In your essay be specific. Use “proof” from the poem to show your argument or points. This proof will be specific statements the narrator makes.

“The Man He Killed” by Thomas Hardy

"Had he and I but met
By some old ancient inn,
We should have sat us down to wet
Right many a nipperkin! [a half pint of beer]

"But ranged as infantry,
And staring face to face,
I shot at him as he at me,
And killed him in his place.

"I shot him dead because —
Because he was my foe,
Just so: my foe of course he was;
That's clear enough; although

"He thought he'd 'list, perhaps, [list is slang for enlist]
Off-hand like — just as I —
Was out of work — had sold his traps — [trappings—his clothes, tools, belongings]
No other reason why.

"Yes; quaint and curious war is!
You shoot a fellow down
You'd treat if met where any bar is,
Or help to half-a-crown." [English coin, like saying a few bucks]

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ESSAYS:

Please note on essays (if this applies to you):

1) All top material: your name, my name, course #, and date are on LEFT side top and dbl spaced in one vertical line Like this”

Your Name
Willey
Course #
Today’s date
Center title on this line
Start essay after indenting on this line

2) title is centered, NOT in bold, NOT in all caps, NOT underlined, not in quotes
3) the paper is left justified--not full justified
4) there are NO extra spaces, returns, etc above or under the title, between paragraphs, or anywhere else in the entire essay--only dbl spacing—all paragraphs must be indented
NOTE there is EXACTLY the same space between every line in the essay from top to bottom, no exceptions
5) you can use only ONE FONT, and only ONE SIZE FONT throughout the entire essay
6) commas and periods are always INSIDE quotation marks
7) page numbers must be in upper right corner ONLY
8) Here is a sample Documented essay in MLA style—note most essays you do not have to have (  ) for page numbers or a works cited—but the format is the same

ESSAYS: Please note on essays (if this applies to you): 1) All top material: your name, my name, course #, and date are on LEFT side top and dbl spaced in one vertical line Like this” Your Name Willey Course # Today’s date Center title on this line Start essay after indenting on this line 2) title is centered, NOT in bold, NOT in all caps, NOT underlined, not in quotes 3) the paper is left justified--not full justified 4) there are NO extra spaces, returns, etc above or under the title, between paragraphs, or anywhere else in the entire essay--only dbl spacing—all paragraphs must be indented NOTE there is EXACTLY the same space between every line in the essay from top to bottom, no exceptions 5) you can use only ONE FONT, and only ONE SIZE FONT throughout the entire essay 6) commas and periods are always INSIDE quotation marks 7) page numbers must be in upper right corner ONLY 8) Here is a sample Documented essay in MLA style—note most essays you do not have to have ( ) for page numbers or a works cited—but the format is the same This must be page 1 and the rest consecutive 2 Last Name, first Name (of student) [ essay 1.1] Willey (instructor) [put in your course #] [date must go here] The Life of Zora Neale Hurston through Their Eyes Were Watching God The intrinsic qualities that define the person of Zora Neale Hurston include feminist, sentimentalist, passionate, deep-rooted and a maverick. Born a black female during a time when a person’s place in society was determined by the color of their skin and women were fighting for their rights. Proud of her race and gender; Hurston was indifferent to the norms of society. She is noted as one of the first black American female writers of her time and there are claims she is the pioneer of feminism. Her literary works include articles, novels, folklore, dramas, and an autobiography. The majority of her fiction is written in southern black dialect, which transports the reader back into time. Zora Neal Hurston’s life is prominent through the semblance of characters and events, which she depicts throughout her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. The protagonist in the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God is Janie Crawford, a beautiful lightskinned black woman “who is unable to discover her true self until she begins to take charge of her life” (Galenet). Janie, at the tender age of seventeen, marries a middle-aged man, Logan Killicks. She marries Logan for the sake of her grandmother, who lived a painful life as a slave; raped and beaten by white men, she is determined to protect Janie from the trials and tribulations she had to endure. Janie dreams the marriage will lead to love, but the dream is shattered, until one day when Joe Starks, a handsome young man full of ambitions, enters into Janie’s life. He lures her with promises of wealth and happiness; his blandishments work and Janie leaves Logan cold. The promise of wealth is kept but the promise of happiness is broken; for twenty years, Joe stifles her individuality and growth as a person. She is trapped tending a store and living a lie. The death of Joe sets her free and she finally meets the man of her dreams, Tea Cup; their life together is short, but they are the happiest years of her life. Hurston and Janie keep their true age a mystery. The veracity of Hurston’s age and birthplace has long been under scrutiny. In her autobiography, “Dust Tracks on a Road,” she claims her birthplace as Eatonville, Florida; however, there is evidence to prove otherwise. An article written in the African This must be page 1 and the rest consecutive 3 American Review states, “The ‘Family Record’ lists Hurston’s birthplace was Notasulga, Alabama, which conflicts with Hurston’s life-long claim that Florida was her native state” (Bordelon). She has been known to claim her birth year as 1901, 1903 or 1910; however, records indicate her birth date circa 1891. Hurston, in an insouciant manner, informs the world through her character Janie that she is not too concerned about the issue of her age. Janie becomes the topic of discussion amongst a group of gossiping women when her best friend Pheoby Watson defends her, “The worst thing Ah ever knowed her to do was taking a few years offa her age and dat ain’t never harmed nobody” (Hurston 3). Hurston lived her childhood years in Eatonville, Florida. The town of Eatonville’s claim to fame is “America’s first self-governing black town” (Sailer 58). Hurston’s father, John, served a term as the third Mayor of Eatonville. This part of her life is analogous to Janie’s second husband, Joe. When Janie met Joe he was headed towards a town being built by colored folks, “But when he heard all about ‘em makin’ a town all outa colored folks, he knowed dat was de place he wanted to be” (Hurston 28). They arrive in the town and Joe immediately takes charge when he discovers they have no Mayor. The town is initially named West Maitland until Joe buys two-hundred acres from a Captain Eaton, hence the name Eatonville. The acreage bought is for the town to expand and build a Post Office and General Store; naturally, the townspeople make him their Mayor. The indelible love Janie has for Tea Cup and the relationship they share closely resembles the relationship Hurston has with P.M.P. Hurston writes, “The plot was far from the circumstances, but I tried to embalm all the tenderness of my passion for him in Their Eyes Were Watching God (Wall, 750). Hurston has many love interests in her life, but P.M.P. is her one true love. He is a good-looking gentleman with an awesome physique; however, Hurston claims there is another reason she is attracted to him, his mind. Hurston proclaims, “When a man keeps beating me to the draw mentally, he begins to get glamorous” (Wall 745). Both Janie and Hurston are considerably older than their male counterparts are. Two events depicted between Hurston and P.M.P. parallel those of Janie and Tea Cup. P.M.P. spends his last nickel on a ride to Hurston’s house and does not have enough money to get home. Hurston offers to loan P.M.P a quarter until payday; this gesture is an insult to him and he becomes enraged. He tells her he would not deserve her respect if he accepted the money and “No woman on earth could either lend him nor give him a cent. If a man could not do for a woman, what good was he on earth? His great This must be page 1 and the rest consecutive 4 desire was to do for me” (Wall 745). Tea Cup shares the same philosophy. Janie is left a wealthy widow and Tea Cup refuses to let her spend her own money; he boldly states, “From now on, you gointuh eat whutever muh money can buy yuh and wear de same. When Ah ain’t got nothin’ you don’t git nothin’” (Hurston 128). Another incident involves jealousy and physical abuse. If Hurston is seen, being friendly with another male P.M.P would become insanely jealous and a fight was guaranteed to ensue. In the middle of one of their fights, Hurston slaps P.M.P; she claims he pays her back with interest and more. Tea Cup slaps Janie; the motive is the same but not the reason, “Not because her behavior justified his jealousy, [. . .] Being able to whip her reassured him in possession” (Hurston 147). Hurston’s graduate study was in anthropology under one of her professors, the renowned, Franz Boas, at Barnard College. She is also the first black student to attend this college and earn her degree. Her passion was the Negro culture and she devoted herself to preserving the black folk heritage. Marion Holmes writes, “Fiercely proud of black culture, she collected hundreds of folktales and focused her studies on the Negro farthest down” (96). Hurston gathered her stories from sawmill camps in Florida and in New Orleans she collected sermons, children’s games, and hoodoo; she would then use them in her writings. Hurston’s love for story telling is glimpsed in Janie. A favorite pastime the menfolk enjoyed, while sitting on the front porch of Janie’s store, was conjuring up tales about an old mule. Janie listened and ached to tell stories herself, “Janie loved the conversation and sometimes she thought up good stories on the mule, but Joe had forbidden her to indulge” (Hurston 53). Sheila Hibben writes in her critical essay about Their Eyes Were Watching God: As a great many novelists – good and bad – ought to know by this time, it is awfully easy to write nonsense about Negroes. That Miss Hurston can write them with simple tenderness, so that her story is filled with the ache of her own people, is, I think, due to the fact that she is not too preoccupied with the current fetish of the primitive. In Hurston’s article, How it Feels to be Colored Me, she recalls that at the age of thirteen she realizes she is a colored person growing up in a white man’s world. According to Hurston, growing up black during her lifetime is not a tragedy; a different story could be told if she were born sixty years earlier. This must be page 1 and the rest consecutive 5 She does not feel oppressed or claim to be a person who the world owes something to because of events that had occurred in the past. Instead, she lives her life in the here and now (Wall 827). Zora Neale Hurston died in 1960 an impoverished but proud woman. She was buried in an unmarked grave until 1973, until another famous black female writer, Alice Walker, made it her mission to make the author’s grave known. Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God left an impression on Alice Walker; she claims, “There is no book more important to me” (Sailer 58). Walker not only revealed to the world Hurston’s eternal resting place; she revived her literary works. Walker wrote a magazine article for Ms. Magazine in 1975 titled In Search of Zora Neale Hurston, which opened the eyes of the literary world. In conclusion, Zora Neale Hurston can be classified as one of the most widely recognized black woman literary writers. Hurston dedicated her lifework to learning and sharing her Negro heritage, which has touched those who have read her works. The novel Their Eyes Were Watching God can be viewed as looking glass into the life of Zora Neale Hurston through the characters and events, which are depicted throughout. This must be page 1 and the rest consecutive 6 Works Cited Bordelon, Pam. “New Tracks on Dust Tracks: Toward a Reassessment of the Life of Zora Neale Hurston.” African American Review. Spring 1997: 5-22. Holmes, Marion Smith. “Zora Neale Hurston out of obscurity.” Smithsonian. Jan. 2001: 96-108. Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. NY: Harper Perennial, 1998. Literature Resource Center. Contemporary Literary Criticism. "Zora Neale Hurston." 30 April 2002. . Sailer, Steve. “The Secret Zora Neale Hurston.” National Review. 3 Apr. 1995: 58-60. Wall, Cheryl. Hurston: Folkore, Memoirs, & Other Writings. NY: Literary Classics, 1995.

Tutor Answer

henryprofessor
School: University of Maryland

Attached.

Surname 1
Name
Professor
Course
Date
Poetry Essay
In the poem "The Man He Killed" by Thomas Hardy, the speaker is deep in thought
regarding the fact he killed. His reflection explores another possibility of encounter that he
would have had with the man if they did not meet in war (Hardy). However, he remembers that
he was on a battlefield with the man, and both of them were exercising their duties as soldiers in
war. The speaker believes that if he met the man in a bar, they both would have had a great time
as they indulged in drinks. He tries to determine whether or not he had a reason for killing the
man and whether or not the reason is justified. Nonetheless, the reason he gives does not appear
to be concrete.
In the first stanza, the speaker begins his sentiments, and it seems as if he is talking to
another person. It is clear that he is speaking of another person he met in the past, and he wishes
they would have met in the bar. He says "Had he and I but met, By some old ancient inn, We
should have sat us down to wet, Right many a nipperkin!" (Hardy). Although in this stanza it is
still unclear that the speaker killed the man, he probably regrets the fact that he did not have a
chance to know the man better. Therefore, something dreadful must have happened to the man
for the speaker to show the disillusionment. The reader can tell that they met in a different
premise under unfortunate circumstances. The speaker sees that friendship was potential.

Surname 2
In the second stanza, the speaker says "But ranged as infantry, And staring face to face, I
shot at him as he at me, And killed him in his place" (Hardy). The stanza reveals why the speaker
is conflicted. The speaker was in a battle with the man because they fired shots at each other as
they were on different fronts. Each of them was fighting for survival, and the speaker managed to
kill the man. Therefore, it is highly likely that the two people were enemies of war. The battle
line-ups enabled them to see each other face to face before they engaged in the war. They were
"staring face to face" because they stood on opposite sides, and this gesture shows that they were
enemies. However, the fact that they were lined up as infantry shows that they were taking orders
from higher ranks, and they had no choice but to fight each other. They pledged allegiance to
their specific camps, and they had to be enemies to perform their duties. The reader can compare
their battle to a duel because only one of the two could come out alive. The speaker, thus,
achieved victory by killing the man.
In the third stanza, the speaker tries to give a justified reason for killing the man. He says,
"I shot him dead because — Because he was my foe, Just so: my foe of course he was; That's
clear enough;...

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Review

Anonymous
Good stuff. Would use again.

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