The Alchemy of Day Topics for Further Study
by Anne Hebert

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Topics for Further Study

(Poetry for Students)

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Hébert is one of many artists who initially believed that renunciation of pleasure was necessary for artistic purposes. Research another artist who has practiced this asceticism and write a short essay arguing how this influence showed in the artist’s work.

The author uses many colors in her poem to set a mood. Choose three to five colors and conduct a small survey to discover people’s associations with these colors. Record your results on a chart and write a brief summary of your findings.

The poem has a great deal of imagery, including some Christ-related imagery. Choose a symbolic image from a work of visual art and create your own collage to reflect this image.

Research other societies, from any era, that have tried to secede from a greater political body, as Quebec tried to do around the time Hébert wrote the poem. Compare this situation to the situation in Quebec.

In the collection that includes “The Alchemy of Day,” Hébert makes a case for defining Quebec’s language, which she thinks is indefinite and imprecise. Research the idea of language as it relates to a culture’s identity. Write a report based on your findings, including your own opinions about how important you think language is to cultural identity.