How can Dickinson's poem "It Feels a Shame to be Alive" be analyzed using the TPCASTT method of analyzing poetry?
The first t of the TPCASTT initialism stands for title. From the title of this poem, one might infer that the speaker is depressed and maybe even suicidal. From the title, the speaker seems not to want to live because she considers living to be shameful.
The p in the TPCASTT initialism stands for paraphrase. To paraphrase the poem, one must briefly summarize the narrative or message of the poem. There isn't much of a narrative in the poem, but the message is clear and is repeated and emphasized in each of the five stanzas. The message is simply that one should remember and honor the soldiers who give their lives fighting on one's behalf.
The c in the initialism stands for connotation. For this part of the initialism, one must consider the connoted, or implicit, meaning behind the poem. The poem explicitly describes the bravery of the soldiers and implicitly, as noted above, encourages the reader to honor those soldiers for their sacrifice.
The a in the initialism stands for attitude. The speaker's attitude in the poem is respectful and reverential. This attitude can be seen especially clearly in the final lines of the poem, in which the speaker compares the soldiers to "Saviors" and "Divinity."
The s in the initialism stands for shifts. For this part of the initialism, one must consider any shifts in tone in the poem. There are no obvious shifts of tone in this particular poem, but the reverential tone does build to a climax in the final stanza, in which, as noted above, the speaker compares the soldiers to "Saviors."
The second t in the initialism stands, again, for title. At this stage, the initialism invites the reader to examine the title once more, now that the poem has been read. After reading the poem, one understands that the speaker feels ashamed, not because she is depressed, but because she feels guilty that, while she is safe at home, men are going to war to fight on her behalf.
The third and final t of the initialism stands for theme. At this final stage of the initialism, one is invited to consider the overall theme or themes of the poem. The main themes in Dickinson's poem are sacrifice, honor, pride, and guilt.
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