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Assignment: Poetry Explication. “Conscientious Objector” (Essay Sample)


For this paper, you will be writing an explication of a poem we have read in English II Part 2, and the poem must be at least 5 stanzas in length. A poetry explication is an explanation of what you believe the message of the poem is. The goal of an explication is to illuminate the meaning of the poem for other readers. First read the poem several times. Read it aloud. Notice how it looks on the page, the way the words sound when you read them aloud, and anything the words make you think about. You will probably have to look some words up in the dictionary—remember that the definition you know might not be the only definition there is. Answer the following questions using your answers as a rough draft for your paper.
•What does the title contribute to the reader’s understanding?
•Who is speaking?
•What is the situation?
•What is the setting?
•What difficult, special, unusual words does the poem contain?
•What is the mood of the poem?
•What is the meaning of the poem? Look beyond the surface meaning to the actual message the poet is trying to relay.
Below are the poems from the textbook that meet the requirements and can be used for the explication:
•"The Poetic Interpretation of the Twist" (page 634-635)
•"The Empty Dance Shoes" (page 636-637)
•"The Guitar" (page 649)
•"The Fish" (page 650-651)
•"Danny Deever" (page 652-654)
•"Spring & All" (page 665-666)
•"The Bridegroom" (page 642-647)
•"A Tree Telling of Orpheus" (page 659-663)
•"Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night" (page 679)
•"The Waking" (page 685)
•"The Wind Tapped Like a Tired Man" (page 718-719)
•"Glory" (page 720-721)
•"Conscientious Objector" (page 726)
•"The Weary Blues" (736-737)


Poetry Explication “Conscientious Objector”
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Poetry Explication “Conscientious Objector”
I. Introduction
“Conscientious Objector” is a poem composed by Edna St. Vincent Millay, expressing her strong views on pacifism. It was composed during the Second World War, a period where conscientiousness was deemed morally upright. The poem is composed from the perspective of a conscientious objector and the narrator repeatedly makes her opinion known regarding the expected behavior of society and how she is against it. The narrator is against war and will not be involved in any activity that facilitates death.

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