Ralph Upchuck writes poetry… but not very well!

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free sample essay with problems to discuss in an English classroom lesson plan

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The following is an essay written about the fictional poet, Ralph Upchuck. Take a look at the essay’s study of Ralph’s poetry and critique it (i.e. tell what’s wrong with/what’s good about the essay). List four things you find problematic. List one thing the writer does well. You’ll need to read through all of your classmates’ comments as well, because you’re not allowed to repeat anyone else’s ideas.

The Poetry of Ralph Upchuck

     Ralph is a poet from the 20th century. He mostly likes to write about bugs and stuff. I like his poems a lot. They’re pretty good mostly.

     This poet’s skill at creating metaphors and similes is far more interesting than any other poet before his time.

   Ralph’s poems are kind of shaped like bugs. That’s the form. “The mosquitoes under the sun make me think twice/About going outside when it’s nice…”

    Ralph has great imagery. “…and that’s why it bit me…” So you see, I picture a bug biting me in this line from his poem.

     The tone of Ralph’s poems is serious and scientific. He uses big science-related words.

     Ralph uses bug bite themes the most. “Bug bites are scary/Especially when the bug is hairy…” Mr. Upchuck also writes about strep throat in his poem called, I Kissed a Girl and Now I Gotta Pay. “Strep throat makes me feel so icky/But I get to stay home from school/Whenever I’m sickly…” I think Ralph is pretty morbid really.

    Ralph uses poetic language like similes and metaphors and stuff. He also uses words like infectious, swollen, and mosquito. He has a unique choice of words.

     His poetry is considered 20th Century poetry.  Here’s the entire poem of A Spider Bit Me and Now I’m Going to Die:

A spider bit me

And now I’m going to die

I don’t know why I try

I wish I could fly

But instead I’ll die

Bye-bye

     This poem uses the typical vocabulary of the 20th century, with a few science words thrown in.

    So you see, Ralph Upchuck’s skill at creating similes and metaphors is far greater than any other poet of his time. He’s better than Maya Angelou, Robert Frost, and even Shel Silverstein.

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41 responses »

  1. Problems:
    1. he has no puntuation
    2. he needs to have exaples of why he thinks things.
    3. when he said that his poet is serious when he writes poems and uses sientific words, he’s wrong, the poem is not serious, and uses no scientific words.
    4. when he siad he used similies and metaphors far more interesting than other poets before his time, i think it is the oposite of that, to me the poem is rather boring.

  2. Problamatic things

    1.He forgot to put his name on his essay
    2.You never should use the poets first name only last name.
    3.the second paragragh only uses one sentence.
    4.the third paragraph uses a quotation but does not discuss how this poem relates to form.
    Good-He has a title

  3. More facts because some of the ones i used were already used but i didn’t know.
    1. In his poem he addressed the people by saying “bye-bye”.
    2. In the statement below the poem is said that he used scientific words in his poem but the poem didn’t have any scientific words.
    3. The person writing the essay also addressed the people when he wrote “I like his poems a lot.”

  4. 1. it would be more interesting if they gave more info. about where Ralph Upchuck had been born and when?

    2. “He mostly likes” would be better as “his passion is writing about”

    3.”Skill” would be better changed to imagination. because in my opinion it takes imagination to make metaphords not skill.

    4. It says that this poem uses typical language from 20th century, they should give examples of 20th cntury language.

    1. The poem that he wrote has a pessimistic tone which i find intersting because he got bit by a spider and he already assumes hes going to die, and he’s not even going to try because he thinks he’s already a goner(:

    • Your one “good” item is about the poet, but you were asked to critique the essayist, not the poet. I absolutely LOVE your four critiques of the things he did wrong, though. They’re some of the best I saw for this discussion. 🙂

  5. Problems:
    1. When he says: “He also uses words like infectious, swollen, and mosquito.” He needs to put quotes around the words he pulling from his poems. It should look like this: “He also uses words like ‘infectious’, ‘swollen’, and ‘mosquito’.”

    2. When he states: “He’s better than Maya Angelou, Robert Frost, and even Shel Silverstein.” It should not be included in this essay. Essays are intended to be full of information at that is the writer’s opinion.

    3. When he says: “This poet’s skill at creating metaphors and similes is far more interesting than any other poet before his time.” He needs to give example on why he thinks that and possibly why that might be true, if it is.

    4. When he says: “The tone of Ralph’s poems is serious and scientific. He uses big science-related words.” Giving an example of his tone would help greatly. Also giving examples on what “big science-related” he uses.

    Good things:

    1. He correctly capitalizes the first word of every sentence and punctuates each sentence correctly as well.

  6. 1.she forget the right punctuation
    2. The poet doesn’t use big words
    3. Little paragraphs
    4. Funjo tone

    • #1 In which sentence?
      #2 You were supposed to comment on the essayist, not the poet.
      #3. That one’s already been done.
      #4. HUH?
      #5. You forgot to mention something this person does well.

  7. Problem’s with Ralph Upchuck’s Poem;
    1. He didn’t put quotations around “A Spider Bit Me and Now I’m Going to Die”.

    2. When he says “. . . and similies and metaphors and stuff. . . ” stuff isn’t a very good word to use in your vocabulary.

    3. He indented every line of his essay. Except for the poem.

    4. “They’re pretty good mostly.” isn’t a complete sentence.

    5. He ends his essay with a conclusion, a problem a lot of us have!

    • Your #3 statement is misleading. Did you mean to say “He has not FULLY indented his paragraphs?” Because to say that he did indent is true, but it’s not one of the problems. Poems aren’t supposed to be indented. So pretty much, your whole statement in #3 confused me.
      #4: You say that “They’re pretty good…” isnt’ a complete sentence, but in fact, it is. The subject is “they;” the predicate is “are pretty good…” Therefore, it is a complete sentence.

  8. 1.he has extreme baby talk he needs to be more mature with his words and lengths of his sentences.

    2.when it says “This poet’s skill at creating metaphors and similes…” it does not make any sense.

    3.in the sentence “Ralph has great imagery. “…and that’s why it bit me…” So you see, I picture a bug biting me in this line from his poem.” im not sure that he even knows what real imagry is.

    4.in the sentence ” Here’s the entire poem of A Spider Bit Me and Now I’m Going to Die:” he needed to put his poem name in italics.

    5. what he does well is that he used a good word choice in the sentence “I think Ralph is pretty morbid really.”

  9. Problems:1:He gave his opinions
    2:I cant find any scientific words
    3:I think he needs to make his stanzas bigger
    4:His tone seems like a little kid wrote it he needs better vocabuary
    Good Things:1:They gave a good example, also what was realy good was that he used quotation marks to let us know that he wrote this peom…..=]

    • #1. That’s already been said. If you had included a specific example, I would’ve given you credit, as long as it was not the same example that other students used.
      #2. Someone already covered that problem.
      #3. You were asked to critique the essayist, not the poet.
      #4. Again, that’s been said. If you had included a specific example, I would’ve given credit.
      #5. What good example? And the essayist didn’t write this poem, the poet did.

  10. Problematic things.
    1. He uses “and stuff” twice in the essay which is bad word choice.
    2.I didn’t see how his peom was scientific.
    3. His peoms are not serious either they are more funny and silly.
    4. He should have backed up his reasoning when he said that his poems are good mostly.

    The thing that he did well was he had great punctuation like when he in his essay because he quotes things right and has periods and capitalizes everything correctly.

  11. 1. When he talks about the form that is not really the form of the peoems.
    2.He needs to describe the poems more.
    3. The line “I think Ralph is pretty morbid really” doesn’t really make sense to me at all.
    4.He needs to tell us more about the poet.

    What he did well was he describes the peoms pretty good.

    • #1. Actually, if a poem is shaped like something, that’s exactly what form is. So are you trying to say that when the essayist reproduced the poem, he didn’t give it a bug shape? If so, that’s unclear.
      #2. By this, do you mean he needs to include more actual poetry–several stanzas perhaps– in order for the reader to imagine what he’s talking about? Because if so, that’s very unclear.
      #3. It made sense to your classmates. They thought “morbid” showed good word choice. Maybe you just need to look up unfamiliar words.

      #5. HUH? Seriously? Would you say “They’re pretty good mostly” describes poems well? I don’t agree.

  12. 1.) This title is not very interesting. It’s not something that I would probably want to read, and find appealing.

    2.) The authr of this essay didn’t indent their paragraphs correctly.

    3.) In the paragraph where the author talks about the “typical 20th century vocabulary” and “a few science words thrown in”, they should give examples of what is “considered” 20th century vecabulary and science words.

    4.) In the paragraph about imagery, “…and that’s why it bit me…” does not give me an image.

    This author uses a large word, morbid. Even though he didn’t use tone correctly, he used morbid adequately.

    • You’ll find that some of your statements are repeated by your classmates, but they were submitted for my approval at the same time as yours. So in those cases, you both will be given credit.

  13. 1. In the 1st paragraph, he said “They’re pretty good mostly”, which includes a misplaced adjective. It could’ve said “They’re mostly pretty good.”
    2. He said the tone of his poems are scientific because he uses scientific names – the truth, he lacks the usage of scientific names. For example, “The spider bit me…” from the poem, uses a common name for the creature instead of the scientific name.
    3. It seems like the essay is incomplete. For example, “So you see, Ralph Upchuck’s skill at creating similes and metaphors is far greater than any other poet of his time. He’s better than Maya Angelou, Robert Frost, and even Shel Silverstein.” It doesn’t seem to wrap-up the essay.
    4. In the last line of the sixth paragraph, he forgot to include a comma between “morbid” and “really”.
    The good thing- When he quoted lines from the poem, he used the slash to indicate that it was a new line.

  14. problamatic things:

    1. the paragraph before the example poem runs off of the topic that it began with.
    2. how are his poems serious whem its talking about unsensible crap about bugs??
    3. the quote exampling the form doesnt exactly prove how he forms his poems lke bugs.
    4.through out the essay it changes time tenses back and forth from present tense and past tense. for example she says “he was the best poet from his time” then turns around and says stuff like “he writes poems about bugs and stuff”

    good qualities:
    he doesnt always say ralph upchuck when speaking of him, he doesnt use repition he uses pronouns like he

  15. 1.When he wrote “Ralph is a poet from the 20th century” he probably should have used the word “was” not “is”.
    2.When he stated that “Ralph has great imagery” the sentence to shoe how great it was did not show good imagery at all.
    3.In the first sentence of the sixth paragraph he tells the reader that “Ralph uses bug bite themes the most” and then the rest of the paragraph is about how he writes about strep throat.
    4.If you already said that he wrote his poetry in the 20th century than it’s pointless to say “His poetry is considered 20th century poetry”
    Good-He capitalized his title correctly

  16. #1. bad word choice “and stuff”.
    #2. he didn’t quote titles.
    #3. not very good explination of imagery “…and that’s why it bit me…” what bit him ????
    #4. his tone is more like a little kids not scientific.

    what he did well was that he did good punctuation

    • Your first two are repeats. You were supposed to read through all of your classmates’ comments and try not to repeat anyone else’s commentary.

      Your #4 is vague. Give me an example of this. Are you talking about the writer of the essay here or the poet? Because you’re supposed to be critiquing the essayist, not the poet.

  17. Problematiuc things:
    1. Uses opinion words when she says “I like his poems a lot”.
    2. The writer of the essay repeats “He uses metaphors and similies” twice in the essay.
    3. When the writer says “This poet’s skill at creating metaphors and similes is far more interesting than any other poet before his time.” instead of saying “is far more better” it should say “are far more better”.
    4. She uses the words most and mostly a lot in her essay.
    Good: They gave a full poem as an example of the poets writting.

    • Your #3 isn’t working. There’s nothing wrong with saying “skill at creating… is far more interesting” but there is something wrong with “more better”–but our writer never used that term. You did.

      I like your choice for the “good” item though. It’s definitely a plus to include a brief poem in the essay.

    • Problematiuc things:
      1. Uses opinion words when she says “I like his poems a lot”.
      2. The writer of the essay repeats “He uses metaphors and similies” twice in the essay.
      3. The writer’s thesis doesn’t prove anything in the essay.
      4. She uses the words most and mostly a lot in her essay.
      Good: They gave a full poem as an example of the poets writting.

  18. Problematic things:
    1. The poet, as far as I found, never uses scientific words in her poem(s).
    2. “Infectious, swollen, and mosquito” is not unique and extraordinary word choice.
    3.”That’s the form.” is not a complete sentence.
    4. She never used quotes, or italics, when she told the readers the title of one of the poets poems.

    The good thing: The author has a good beginning, middle, and end to her essay.

    • Kalem: Your #1 is a repeat of what Haley and Derek said, but I’ll allow it, since neither of their comments had been approved yet.

      Your #2 is okay, but I’d beg to argue that “swollen” certainly is descriptive, though it may not be unique or extraordinary. Perhaps you could’ve worded your #2 differently, but I’m going to allow it.

      You’re dead wrong on #3. “That’s the form is a complete sentence: subject = that; predicate = is the form. However the sentence doesn’t belong in this essay, but I don’t want to elaborate. Instead, I’ll save that for another student’s possible comment.

      I’m glad you noticed the lack of quotation marks around the title of the poem! I was hoping someone would point that one out.
      I’m also pleased to see that you noticed that the author of the essay has an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
      I’m docking you for #3 only.

  19. Problematic Things:
    1.When he says that the form of his poems are “shaped like bugs” that really isn’t form. Form is like sonnet, free verse, etc.
    2.It says that in his poem he includes science words and i couldn’t find any scientific words.
    3.I didn’t notice a simile.
    4.The tone of his poems seem more silly and werid than serious and scientific.

    • Actually, Haley, for #1, the “form” of a poem can include its physical shape–the way words are laid out on the page. So your #1 is not an accurate critique of what’s wrong with the essay.

      Numbers 2 and 3 are repeats of what Derek submitted, but since you didn’t know that (his hadn’t been approved yet), I’ll let that slide.

      Your comment #4 requires a quote from the essay to show which lines of the essay you’re talking about.

      You’re missing a “good” comment.

      You didn’t earn full credit. Sorry. 😦

  20. Problems:
    1. The writer doesn’t give a very detailed image of how Ralph Upchuck writes.
    2. I don’t see any similes in his writing.
    3. His poems don’t sound serious to me.
    4. What big science words?

    Good:
    He tells the right period in time of the poet.

  21. Problematic things:
    1. He uses baby talk when he says “and stuff”.
    2. He talks to the audience stating his opinions without having any evidence when he says, “He’s better than Maya Angelou, Robert Frost, and even Shel Silverstein.”
    3. He uses short choppy paragraphs.
    4. I never did notice him using a mataphor.

    Good things: when he quoted his poem (“Bug bites are scary/Especially when the bug is hairy…”) he did all of his quotation stuff right.

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