A Red Red Rose analysis term paper writing tips
Robert Burns is Scotland's best known poet, and much of his work remains popular today. A Red Red Rose is a common theme for analysis papers, and contains a lot of good material to write on, but it isn't a long poem and at first it can seem difficult to find a place to start. Here are a few tips on how to write a good paper about it.
First, look at the structure of the poem. It's written as a traditional ballad containing four stanzas (verses,) each of which is a quatrain (containing four lines.) Each line in a poem can be broken into iambs, or beats, and this poem uses them in a clear pattern. Within each stanza the 1st and 3rd lines have four iambs each, while the second and third have three each. When Burns was writing many people were illiterate and poetry was more often recited aloud than read privately, and the pattern he used is very suitable for recitation.
The poem - like much of Burns' work - is written in Scots dialect. Again this points to him having written it to be recited. Normally, even if people spoke in dialect they would write using the conventional spellings. However if Burns had done this then the poem would sound very different when read by people with different dialects or even standard pronunciation. Although Burns himself came from a poor Ayrshire farming family his work first became popular among educated people in Edinburgh, who would have spoken very differently from him. By writing the way he did Burns ensured that no matter who recited the poem it would sound close to the way he had meant it to.
The poem uses two main literary devices - simile and metaphor. The first stanza contains two similes, comparing the narrator's love for a woman to a red rose and to a song played in summer. The second stanza begins with another simile - comparing his love to the woman's beauty - then moves into metaphor; when he says he will love her until the seas go dry he does not mean this literally, but is making a dramatic comparison. The third stanza continues this, adding two more metaphors - the rocks melting from the sun and the sands of time. The final stanza is a promise that he will return.
Finally, what does the poem mean? Burns wrote it in 1794, towards the end of his life, when he was married to his long-time love Jean Armour. He had initially asked to marry Armour in 1786, but her father refused permission and only relented in 1788 when Burns had become a successful poet; he spent most of the intervening two years in Edinburgh, working. It seems likely that the poem was devoted to Armour and how they had waited for each other.
Using these points as a basis it should be easy to write a good analysis paper on this poem; they give a good outline of how t achieves its effect and why Burns was motivated to write it, which are two of the most important things about any poem.