American Poetry Suggestions (PDF) Honours 4th year

National University honours 4th year English Literature Department suggestion. honours 4th year american poetry suggestions and question answers. Subject : American Poetry, Code : 241109.

american poetry suggestions

Part-A : Brief Question with Answer
Emily Dickinson

1. What is rowing in the sea like?
Ans. Rowing in the sea is like rowing in Eden.

2. What does the poet prefer to night?
Ans. The poet prefers mooring in her beloved to rowing in the sea.

3. What does the poet mean by ‘luxury’?
Ans. Since the poet has used the word ‘luxury’ in the context of her spending nights with her lover, by the word she means unbounded sexual pleasures.

4. What does the poet mean by the expression ‘Futile-the Winds-to a heart in port’?
Ans. The expression is a very condensed metaphor. As the stormy winds cannot do any damage to a ship anchored safely at a port, the poet’s heart, which is steady like an anchored ship, will not be unhinged by any adverse circumstances.

5. How does the poet express the steadiness of her heart in the matter of her love?
Ans. The poet expresses the steadiness of her heart in the matter of her love, by comparing her heart to an anchored ship.

Walt Whitman

1. What did the poet do when lilacs bloomed last in his dooryard?
Ans. The poet mourned when lilacs bloomed last in his dooryard.

2. What shall the poet mourn for with ever-returning spring?
Ans. The poet shall mourn with the ever-returning spring, for the trinity-lilacs blooming perennially, the drooping star in the west, and the thought of him whom the poet loves.

3. Why does the poet say that there is a miracle with every leaf of the lilac-bush?
Ans. He says that there is a miracle with every leaf of the lilac-bush because he loves the lilac-bush very much.

4. How does the poet describe the bird?
Ans. The bird is a solitary thrush. It is like a hermit withdrawn to himself, avoiding the settlements.

5. What kind of song is the thrush singing?
Ans. The bird (thrush) is singing a song of the ‘bleeding throat’, death’s outlet song of life.

Robert Frost

1. What does the ice-storms do to the birches?
Ans. The ice-storms bend the birches permanently.

2. Why do the ice-storms bend the birches permanently?
Ans. They bend the birches permanently because the weight of ice is too much for the trees, and it destroys their resilience.

3. What effect does the warmth of the sun have on the ice-covered birch trees?
Ans. The sun’s warmth makes the trees shed crystal shells (pieces of ice shaped like shells) shattering and avalanching on the snow crust.

4. When do the birches look like girls on hands and knees?
Ans. When the birches are permanently bent by the heavy load office, their trunks remain arching for years; trailing their leaves on the ground. Then they look like girls on hands and knees.

5. What does the poet prefer, instead of the ice-storms?
Ans. The poet prefers to have some boy bend the birches, as he went in and out to fetch the cows.

Langston Hughes

1. What are the themes of ‘The Negro Speaks of Rivers’ closely related with?
Ans. The themes of the poem are closely related with the Harlem Renaissance.

2. To whom did Langston Hughes dedicate the poem ‘The Negro Speaks of Rivers’?
Ans. Hughes dedicated the poem to W.E.B. Du Bois.

3. Who was DU Bois?
Ans. W.E.B. DU Bois was one of the most brilliant scholars, educators, civil rights activists, writers, and thinkers of the 1920s of America. He founded the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (the NAACP), and the magazine The Crisis.

4. Who are the poets supposed to have influenced Langston Hughes in the matter of his writing the poem ‘The Negro Speaks of Rivers’?
Ans. Walt Whitman and Carl Sandburg are the poets who are supposed to have influenced Langston Hughes in the matter of writing the poem ‘The Negro Speaks of Rivers’.

5. What is the full name of Abe Lincoln?
Ans. His full name is Abraham Lincoln.

Part-B : Short Questions
Emily Dickinson

1. How can the poem ‘Wild Nights-Wild Nights’ be regarded as a poem of mystic experience?
2. How does Dickinson express her love in Wild Nights, -Wild Nights?
3. When the coffin was lifted by the mourners, how did the poet feel?
4. The poet expresses great enthusiasm for drinking the alcohol of the beauties of Nature?
5. How long will the poet continue drinking the alcohol or nectar from nature?

Walt Whitman

1. How does Walt Whitman describe the lilac-blush?
2. How does Whitman describe the beauty of his ‘Own Manhattan’?
3. What does Whitman ignore in order to pay his last respect for the person he loves?
4. Why does the poet cry out ‘But O heart! heart! heart!’? / How does Whitman express his grief over the death of the captain?
5. How does the poet bring out his loneliness at the end of the poem?

Robert Frost

1. Why does Frost say ‘Earth is the right place for love’?
2. ‘Life is too much like a pathless wood.’ Explain.
3. What did the poet and his neighbour do in mending the wall?
4. What are the arguments of the two men in the Mending Wall?
5. What message does Frost convey through his poem ‘Mending Wall’?

Langston Hughes

1. What did Langston Hughes learn from his visit in the rivers?
2. How are the rivers mentioned in the poem ‘The Negro Speaks of Rivers’ associated with the Negro slavery?
3. What picture of a black American do you get from the poem, ‘I, Too, Sing America’?
4. Analyze the theme of racial inequality in the poem ‘I, Too, Sing America’.
5. ‘I am the darker brother’ -Who said this and in what context?


1. Rowing in Eden-
Ah, the sea!
Might I but moor-to night-
In thee! (Wild Nights Wild Nights)

2. I felt a funeral in my brain,
And mourners to and fro
kept treading-treading-till it seemed
That sense was breaking through (I felt a funeral in my Brain)

3. When Lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d,
And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night,
I mourned, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.
(When Lilacs Last at My Dooryard Bloomed)

4. O Captain, My Captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won. (O Captain, My Captain)

5. But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead. (O Captain, My Captain)

Short Notes

1. Mysticism
2. American Civil War
3. Emancipating Proclamation
4. New England
5. Abe Lincoln
6. Civil Rights Movement in America
7. John Wilkes Booth
8. The American Dream
9. Blues
10. Harlem

Part-C : Broad Questions
Emily Dickinson

1. What are the distinctive features of the poetic diction of Emily Dickinson?
2. Discuss the major themes in Dickinson’s poems you have read.
3. Discuss Emily Dickinson as a poet of nature.
4. Discuss Emily Dickinson’s treatment of the theme of immortality.
5. Critically analyze the poem ‘I Felt a Funeral in My Brain’ by Emily Dickinson.

Walt Whitman

1. What ideas of Whitman’s use of imagery do you get from a study of his poems?
2. Write a note on Whitman as a mystic poet with special reference to his poem ‘When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed’.
3. How does Whitman show his tribute to Abraham Lincoln in his poems?
4. Examine ‘O Captain My Captain’ as an elegy.
5. Evaluate Walt Whitman as a modern poet.

Robert Frost

1. Evaluate Frost as a poet of common man. / Portrayal of characters.
2. Depict the theme of alienation in the poems of Robert Frost.
3. ‘Frost is a story-teller of New England’ – Comment on this statement.
4. Write a critical appreciation of the poem ‘The Death of the Hired Man’.
5. Analyze the rural settings in the poems of Robert Frost.

Langston Hughes

1. Discuss the socio-political conditions of America as the background to Langston Hughes’ writing poetry.
2. Discuss the elements of anti-racialism in the of Langston Hughes.
3. How does Langston Hughes expose ugly aspects of American life?
4. Discuss the liberal attitude of Langston Hughes towards America.
5. Define symbolism. What symbolic elements do you find in the poems of Langston Hughes?

Answer Sheet

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