I have been a reader of poetry for so long and you must have guessed this already by reading my blog posts so far. However, let me make it very clear that poetry analysis for study purposes or rather academic purposes is a very different task compared to poetry analysis (or rather observation) just for leisurely purposes. For example, appreciating a sonnet written by Shakespeare won't take you into the depths of the myths or the secrets of his fantasy dark lady and his romantic interest in some fair youth. You can go as far as looking into the fine details that Shakespeare might have created with his poetry skills in the sonnets. For academic studies and academic analysis of poetry, you need expert guidance as well as an objective skill of poetry appreciation.
Suppose you read the poem by Tagore, Where the mind is without fear and try to enjoy it. Well, you can enjoy the poem as it is, without the need of doing something else. Just read the text, use your brain and understand the meaning – wow! You have enjoyed the poem. Now, what will a student do if he or she is said to understand the poem academically? How can someone prepare oneself for the questions that might be asked on the basis of the possible meanings and interpretations of the poem by Tagore? Where is the mind? What is fear? Why the mind without fear can only prosper and not a mind submissive to someone else's will? There might be many questions that will demand a complete study of the poem, in a comprehensive and clear way.
Most of the times, it is the job that should ideally be undertaken by the teachers assigned for this purpose. Their job is to make the students understand the poem and both the possible meanings – the apparent idea and the idea that lies below the surface meaning. So, what if the teacher tries his best but the student cannot find it comfortable... then, in most of the cases, a student should read the poem 2-3 times and find the ideal interpretation that goes along with the lines, from the beginning to the end. Or, after studying the poem by oneself, a person can easily search for the possible ideas on the Internet and read the most suitable interpretations on suitable platforms – the platforms that only produce and provide literary content.
There are many websites noun which make understanding poetry comfortable for the students of elementary as well as higher levels. However, be very careful before you blindly believe in the ideas someone is extending. Make sure you analyse the given simplifications, interpretations and ideas before modelling your arguments on them. It will make your life more simplified in the coming days... English Literature Education is one of the major platforms in India which provides free high quality English literature notes to the students. The platform is driven by passion for literature and also a philosophy of free interpretation should be free... you can check their website (the hyperlink has been added in the words which form the name of the suggested poem). All the best! Enjoy reading poems and learn studying poems the best way!
Written by Prabhakar for The Best Books