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Teacher Analysis Poem

924 words - 4 pages

“Teacher” by Langston Hughes has sixteen lines and four stanzas. While the poem is certainly lyric it is irregular in rhythm with a general rhyme scheme of “abcb”, Hughes divides the 16 lines into four quatrains, or four stanzas of four lines. Enjambment, or continuing a thought to the next line is used in the last two lines, when the speaker fears that “the darkness teach/Me that nothing matters.” There is not a set meter or feet, ranging from a spondaic monometer in lines such as “No lights gleam” to trochaic tetrameter in lines such as “In this narrow bed of earth”. There is also an excessive number of syllables which do not fit into any specific foot. As stated before, there is a general ...view middle of the document...

The tone of the poem is therefore more morbid, and depressing.
Hughes utilizes various forms of figurative language in his poem, such as simile, repetition and personification. “Ideals are like the stars/Always above our reach” is a simile used to compare ideals to stars; Hughes demonstrates that the similarity between ideals and stars is that we can see both, but both are impossible to reach. This comparison is later referenced the fourth stanza, when the speaker states that “Star-dust never scatters”, showing that what comes from ideals doesn’t spread and doesn’t signify anything. Personification is used frequently by the speaker as well, in the lines “On all honest virtues/I sought to keep firm hold.” and “Though I pinched my soul.” to demonstrate the reality and tangibility of these ideas to the reader- a virtue can be lost, a soul can be damaged. This emphasizes the meaning, the reality and the tangibility of these ideas to the speaker; he feels as if his soul was pinched, that his virtues were lost. Personification is also used in the line “And I tremble lest the darkness teach”. Darkness is considered to be the only companion of the speaker, now that he is dead. There is also a sense of repetition, as the speaker references an earlier line in the poem, stating that during their life on earth, “humbly did [he] teach.” Repetition also occurs in the third line of the third stanza and first line of the fourth stanza “And in this narrow bed of earth/.../ In this narrow bed of earth” This indicates the duration of the speaker’s...

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