Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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Can someone give me an example of a homework assignment for Alfred, Lord Tennyson's "The Kraken?"

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Jennings Williamson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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For a homework assignment on this poem, a teacher might ask students to conduct a little preliminary research on what the Kraken is. Minimal research would turn up descriptions of its origins in Scandinavian folklore and myths of its terrorizing sailors in the North Atlantic for hundreds of years. One might ask for an analysis of how the stories about the Kraken compare to its description in the poem.

Alternately, students could prepare their own visual rendering of the Kraken, as it is portrayed in the poem. Next, they could search for images of the Kraken online, comparing and contrasting the image they made with the ones they find. It is quite likely that they will find mostly (or only) images of a very active monster pulling a ship into the deep. They might address the question of why Tennyson would depict his Kraken as sleeping and peaceful when most other depictions show it to be active and brutal. Is it meant to represent something else here? If so, what?

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Lorna Stowers eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Homework assignments for Alfred, Lord Tennyson's poem "The Kraken" will vary based upon what one desires to focus upon. Assignments can focus upon imagery, poetic devices, and/or mood/tone (to name a few). 

For a more creative assignment, one could ask students to construct a picture of what the Kraken may look like. Tennyson provides readers with very specific images ("Unnumbered and enormous polypi / Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green"). 

One could ask students to analyze and define the poetic devices within the poem. Tennyson uses alliteration ("shadowy sides"), assonance ("thunders" "upper"), and repetition ("few, few") in the poem. Providing the names of specific poetic devices, one could have students identify and define the use of each within the poem. 

Lastly, one could ask how specific words are used to define the tone or mood of the poem. Tennyson uses very specific words to define the mood he desires. 

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