Sample Essay Paper on Analyzes, Compares and Contrasts

Poems always have a striking sense of perspective as emotions and thoughts are expressed with clarity. Poems often utilize different poetic devices to bring out the message clearly. Some of the vibrant poetic devices includes themes which may be expressed in a figurative language and imagery. The theme is critical as it the underlying message and vividly describes the intended lesson about life and human nature and it is universal in nature.  The use of figurative language is for the purpose of being more meaningful and expressive in presenting certain ideas. Figurative language may include metaphors, similes and personification which compares one thing with another unlike objects which use words such “as” or “like”.  Finally, imagery refers to pictures formulated in the reader’s mind which is enhanced by the words used by the poet. The tone and structure always matter as they present the poet’s feeling about ideas.

Claude McKay poem “Harlem Shadows” is about young prostitutes in Harlem. The poem vividly describes circumstances surrounding prostitutes in the harsh world. McKay descriptions lets the audience know why the young girls had no choices. “Harlem Shadows” is closely related to Maya Angelou poem “The Heart of a Woman”. While Mckay describes the dilemma that prostitutes face in making ruthless choices Maya Angelou narrates that women yearn for and the shelters in which they have been imprisoned and the freedom they have is not physical  Claude McKay deliberately uses a pattern of lines which rhyme with other lines. The rhyme scheme in this poem is ababcc. This poem has a different form when compared to other poems like “The Heart of a Woman”.  Maya Angelou in his poem” The heart of a Woman” uses aabb ccdd rhyme scheme.

       The tone used in “Harlem Shadows” is a negatively serious tone and it is evident by the stanzas which captures sentences such as “I hear the halting footsteps of a lass in Negro Harlem when the night lets fall its veil”. The tone is different when compared to the poem “Heart of a Woman” which is filled with love and loneliness. Some of the phrases that depict lonelineness in the Heart of a Woman include, “The heart of a woman goes forth with the dawn, as a lone bird, soft winging, so restlessly on”.

            Mckay poem also uses a lot of imagery in delivering the subject of prostitution. Mckay uses effective images of light and darkness and color-line to describe the difficult circumstances experienced by the young African American ladies. Some of the stanzas in the poem that illustrate imagery captures words such as “dark, dusty, white breast”.  Mckay poem addresses the subject of a woman in making hard decisions is also identical to the poem “The Heart of a Woman”, which embraces musical imagery when seen from the first half of “Dead leaves”. Both of the poems are seditious in the way imagery has been used and it is evident the imagery implies something associated with spirituality rather the articulate helplessness of the women. Both of the poems have used imagery to give an insight of what a woman generally battles with during making choices and specifically finding fulfillment. Mckay also uses the imagery as tool to illustrate the type of where the minorities reside. Mckay describes how the world is infiltrated with disgrace and poverty forcing the minorities to engage in degrading activities to earn a living. Mckay also uses a lot of repetition to emphasize on the point.


What makes Claude Mckay poem to be so powerful and interesting is the use of syntax in presenting the messages to the targeted audience. Mckay describes harlm as a “veil” and he also uses phrases such as “little dark girls” and “long night”.  Other phrases such as “little grays feet” and “dusky, half-clad girls” add flavor to his points. The poetic style used by Claude Mckay is unique as the poem on “the heart of a woman” does not embrace this style. In terms of structure, “The Heart of a Woman” has only two stanzas which follows the same rhyme scheme. This very unique as many poems do not follow the same rhyme scheme.

In poetry, analysis is important because different parts of a poem are closely examined and vital information drawn. The form that a poem takes contributes to the meaning of a poem. Poems are different in nature and some may communicate clearly while others may need thorough examination to come up with the main idea of the author. The analyzed poems have brought up ideas that can be compared with other writings to clearly understand the different concepts presented. Poetry normally exists in every subject and it helps in coming up with ideas in the various disciplines. The investigation of the poems content has heightened the understanding of the subject with respect to the decisions and dilemma a woman goes through in various aspects of life. The use of imagery, tone and other poetic devices enhances clarity and relates different aspects in a hypothetical manner to address the different audience.