Collections of poems...
Poetry Foundation
Poetry 180

Methods of analysis...
TP-CASTT Analysis TP-CASTT Analysis.pdf
Short Summary Version (see pdf above for full explanation)
Title: Make a prediction about the poem based on the title.
Paraphrase: Translate the poem into your own words, focusing on the literal plot (about one sentence per stanza).
Connotation: Contemplate the poem for meaning beyond the literal, including all poetic devices. Identify and state how two poetic devices contribute to the meaning of the poem.
Attitude: Identify and explain two places in the poem where the speaker's attitude is evident.
Shifts: Identify and explain at least one shift in the speaker's attitude or the progress of the poem.
Title: Examine the title again, this time on an interpretive level. Explain the deeper meaning of the title.
Theme: What is the poet saying about the topic of the poem?

REVISED Example of a TP-CASTT analysis:

"Janet Waking"

Beautifully Janet slept
Till it was deeply morning. She woke then
And thought about her dainty-feathered hen,
To see how it had kept.

One kiss she gave to her mother.
Only a small one gave she to her daddy
Who would have kissed each curl of his shining baby;
No kiss at all for her brother.

"Old Chucky, old Chucky!" she cried,
Running across the world upon the grass
To Chucky's house, and listening. But alas,
Her Chucky had died.

It was a transmogrifying bee
Came droning down on Chucky's old bald head
And sat and put the poison. It scarely bled,
But how exceedingly

And purply did the knot
Swell with the venom and communicate
It's rigor! Now the poor comb stood up straight
But Chucky did not.

So there was Janet
Kneeling on the wet grass, crying her brown hen
(Translated far beyond the daughters of men)
To rise and walk upon it.

And weeping fast as she had breath
Janet implored us, "Wake her from her sleep!"
And would not be instructed in how deep
Was the forgetful kingdom of death.

The TP-CASTT Analysis

  • This must be a poem about a girl waking up.

1. Janet wakes and wants to check on her hen.
2. She greets her family.
3. She calls out to the hen, but she is dead.
4. Flashback: A bee stung the bird.
5. Flashback: The poison killed the bird, causing the comb to stand.
6. Janet wants her hen to come back to life.
7. Janet calls to ‘us,’ and will not accept death.

Connotation: (Explain how the device contributes to the meaning of the poem.)
  • Imagery: In stanza three Janet is “Running across the world upon the grass” The picture of a young girl running across the lawn displays Janet’s eagerness and innocence; Janet can't contain herself - she is running.
  • Imagery: In stanza six Janet is “Kneeling on the wet grass, crying her brown hen". This picture of Janet not longer running - she is now kneeling - and weeping, felt in the 'wet grass,' provides a stark contrast to the earlier image of Janet running. She is now still and sad.
  • Pun: In stanza one“deeply morning” a play on ‘mourning deeply.' This pun serves as foreshadowing. By the end of the poem Janet is deeply mourning.

Attitude (Tone):

  • The lines in stanza one “Beautifully Janet slept / Till it was deeply morning” shows that the speaker views Janet as an innocent child, while the lines “And would not be instructed in how deep / Was the forgetful kingdom of death” demonstrates that the speaker sees Janet's reaction to the death of the hen as naive.

Shift (Progression): (indicate why the shift is significant)

  • In “Janet Waking” the first shift occurs in stanza three, “But alas, / Her Chucky had died,” and the next shift takes place in stanza six with the combination of the parenthesis and the word “Translated.” The shifts indicate a change in attitude from amusement to a growing seriousness and the universal experience of death.

Title (Again):
  • Janet is “waking” to the reality of death.

Theme: (formula: list plot and subjects. Then identify what idea the author is conveying about each subject.)

  • Plot: In “Janet Waking,” Janet awakens and runs to greet her pet chicken only to discover that a bee had stung and killed the bird. The discovery desolates Janet to such a degree that her father cannot comfort her.

  • Subjects: (1) a child’s first experience with death (2) loss of a pet (3) innocence

  • Possible Themes: (1) Children become aware of the inevitability of death and are transformed by the knowledge. (2) All the living things we love will die. (3)The death of innocence is inevitable.