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Sample poetry analysis paragraph over "Oranges" by Gary Soto

October 27 2004 at 6:15 PM
Mrs. Lewis  (Premier Login Isabel H.)
Group #9642
from IP address

Response to Pre-AP 1 - Gold 2

If you've lost the copy of this paragraph I gave you in class, print this one out and refer to it when writing your essay. Notice the use of concrete details and commentary. Your body paragraphs should each be approximately the same length as this paragraph.

Sample paragraph of poetry analysis -- English I, III, and Pre-AP/Lewis

    In his poem "Oranges," Gary Soto conveys the excitement of first love by way of a speaker who vividly remembers his first walk with a girl at age 12. The title is both significant and symbolic. Although the poem is set in December, and it is so cold that the characters’ breath condenses, the bright orange of the fruit seems, to the speaker, to be like a "fire" in his hands. Despite the "frost cracking" beneath his steps and the "fog hanging like old/coats between the trees," the warmth and affection of first love are all that the speaker needs to be comfortable and happy. The porch light burning "yellow" at the girl’s front porch and the orange of the fruit symbolize the warmth of the young boy’s affection for the girl. The orange also plays an important role in the poem – the boy uses it as barter for a 10 cent candy bar for his "date" when he only has a nickel. The poem, written in free verse, is divided into two distinct stanzas. In the first, much longer stanza, he meets the girl, walks with her to a drugstore, and trades a nickel and an orange for a candy bar. He’s nervous in the first stanza, and he calls his date "a girl," "she" and "her." In the second stanza, however, he feels confident after he successfully purchases her candy, and she becomes "my girl." Now he takes her hand without embarrassment for "two blocks," only releasing it "to let her unwrap her chocolate." He pays no attention to the dreary weather or the cars "hissing past" because he’s elated at his amorous success. In "Oranges," the poet is expressing the idea that the exquisite joy of liking someone and being liked in return far outweighs any of the momentary discomforts of puppy love.

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