Monday, March 10, 2014

Slice of Life - Day 10

Several of my classes are reading Poe poems this week.  I have never been a lover of poetry, probably because I cannot write sophisticated and wonderful poetry like Poe does. My poems seem so trite and simple.  Poe, on the other hand, is a master at conveying feelings and ideas through poetic verse.  
One poem that I particularly enjoy is "The Haunted Palace."  I love that it supplements his short story "The Fall of the House of Usher." My students are using TPCASTT to analyze Poe's poem this week. The week will culminate with a class discussion of common themes in Poe's poetry followed by a class analysis of "The Haunted Palace." Below is my analysis of the poem using the TPCASTT system.

FYI: TPCASTT is an acronym for the elements of the poem that one can analyze. 

The title makes me think off haunted houses. I assume that the poem will be about a haunted palace and the spooky and weird things that go on in the palace. Because it is haunted, there will likely be some ghosts or paranormal activity in the poem.

Stanza one - In a lovely valley there was a mansion that was grand and beautiful. It was so elegant that flags made from high quality yellow fabric billowed from the rooftop.
Stanza two - People who walked through the valley saw people dancing to music around a king.
Stanza three - the front door was red and when it was open, you could hear wonderful voices singing the knowledge and humor of the king.
Stanza four - Something terrible happened that changed the happiness of the mansion into sadness.
Stanza five - Now when people walk by the house, the windows have a red hue and odd forms can be seen dancing.  Instead of lovely music coming through the front door, only sad sounds are heard.

Line four - "reared its head" makes it sound like the mansion is a dragon or a beast 
Colors throughout the poem - green, golden, yellow, red, pearl, pale
First stanza - angels, fair, radiant, seraph, glorious, float and flow, gentle air, sweet day, plumed - these words seem light and airy. The imagery in this stanza develops a happy mood. I can envision a lovely palace on a bright sunny day.
Second stanza - luminous, lute, well-tuned - good music. "ruler of the realm" is alliterative. The r is harsh though, not soft and wispy like an s. It says "glory well-befitting" so the king deserves his glory. This may mean he is deserving because he is good or because he is well-known. Music is something that would accompany grand parties.
Third stanza - "glowing" followed by "flowing, flowing, flowing" is assonance. I can almost visualize a mist coming from the front door. Poe also chooses the words sparkling, fair, echoes, sweet duty, voices of surpassing beauty. This makes me think the king is a good king because it is a sweet duty.
Fourth stanza - evil, sorrow, assailed, mourn, desolate, dim-remembered, old time entombed - these words are darker and sadder. 
Fifth stanza - vast forms, fantastically, discordant melody, ghastly rapid river, hideous throng, rush, smile no more - these words are more freaky than sad.
Personification of house as a person - banners yellow = hair; two luminous windows saw = eyes; pearl and ruby glowing  and out of the palace door came echoes = mouth; high estate = mind; red-litten windows = eyes and pale door = mouth

Attitude and shift-
There is a light and favorable tone for the first three stanzas. Then there is a shift to a sad and dark tone.

Someone can be happy and easily turn sad even if we don't know the cause of the sadness. 

Title- If the palace is a person, then the haunted palace could be someone that is haunted. The haunting could be literally a ghost haunting him or it could be a mental disorder, or a terrible event.


  1. I've never heard of this way to analyze a poem - I guess I've been out of school for a long time. It certainly is helpful with the complexity of Poe!

  2. Thanks for sharing a great idea - my high school senior needs this!