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How do I write a "SOAPSTone" analysis on the poem "He Never Tried Again" by Jack...

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lswhalen | eNoter

Posted February 26, 2012 at 2:34 AM via web

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How do I write a "SOAPSTone" analysis on the poem "He Never Tried Again" by Jack London?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 26, 2012 at 2:58 AM (Answer #1)

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"He Never Tried Again" is an unpublished poem by Jack London, collected in several modern anthologies as well as online.

"SOAPSTone" is a method of reading and analyzing prose and poetry using several criteria: Speaker, Occasion, Audience, Purpose, Subject, Tone (apcentral.collegeboard.com). By applying each of these to the work, one can better understand the intent of the intent.

For example, the Speaker in "He Never" is an unnamed narrator, recounting a Man's failed attempts at achieving wealth, glory, and love. When all these fail, the narrator flatly explains that the Man committed suicide, failing to save himself by swimming. The narrator is either unconcerned or incredibly objective; he refuses to condemn the Man for his failure or praise him for his attempts, instead simply explaining each act and its results.

Similarly, the Subject of the poem is easy enough to identify; the unnamed Man who tries and fails three times to achieve something. His failure is also a subject, although a thematic one instead of a literal one; while another poet might have written of a man who strived, failed, and eventually succeeded, London took pains to show how much of a failure the Man is, and how his failure led directly to his death.

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