ENG 112W Collaborative Work: Tone and Diction
 
Each group should choose a recorder who will read aloud the assigned section and record the group's responses to the questions outlined below.
 
 
Jonson, "Still to Be Neat" (1640-41)
 
1. Have someone in the group read the poem aloud. As the poem is being read, note both the narrative of the poem and the language used to describe the woman getting dressed. What is the relationship between the speaker and the woman?
 
2. Look at the words (adjectives, verbs, nouns) of the poem. What words stand out? How do these words relate to each other? What image of the woman do these words suggest?
 
3. To whom is the poem addressed? What is the speaker's attitude towards the woman? How does the title contribute to the poem? How do the poem's form (such as the break between stanzas) and (perhaps more importantly) the speaker's rhetorical strategy shape our view of the woman?
 
4. Given your responses to the previous questions, how would you characterize the poem's tone? Choose 3-5 words or phrases which best illustrate your answer to present your reading to the class.

Swift, "A Description of the Morning" (1709)
 
1. Have someone in the group read the poem aloud. As the poem is being read, note both the narrative of the poem and the language used to describe the London morning scene. What scenes are presented? Are there any similarities between the scenes? Differences?
 
2. Look at the words (adjectives, verbs, nouns) of the poem. (Note: "Betty" was an all-purpose name for a maid; "Moll" was a lewd or promiscuous woman of a low social class, a harlot). What words stand out? How do these words relate to each other? What image (sight, sound, smell) or view of London do these words suggest?
 
3. To whom is the poem addressed? What is the speaker's attitude towards the morning scene? How does the poem's form (rhyme scheme, sentence grammar) contribute to the shape of its narrative?
 
4. Given your responses to the previous questions, how would you characterize the poem's tone? Choose 3-5 words or phrases which best illustrate your answer to present your reading to the class.

Housman, "Eight O'clock" (1922)
 
1. Have someone in the group read the poem aloud. As the poem is being read, note both the narrative of the poem and the language used to describe the morning scene. What scenes are presented?
 
2. Look at the words (adjectives, verbs, nouns) of the poem. What words stand out? How do these words relate to each other? What is the relationship between the "he" and the clock? What image (sight, sound, smell) or view of the morning scene do these words suggest?
 
3. To whom is the poem addressed? What is the speaker's attitude towards the morning scene? How does the title contribute to the poem? How does the poem's form -- particularly its phrasing and sentence structure -- shape our view of the morning scene?
 
4. Given your responses to the previous questions, how would you characterize the poem's tone? Choose 3-5 words or phrases which best illustrate your answer to present your reading to the class.

Return to Phil Nel's syllabus for English 112W, section 5 (M-W-F).