Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Similes and Cliches

Warmup: Copy "Harlem," by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Students defined "simile" as a comparison between two things using "like" or "as." We identified the similes in Hughes' poem and talked about its meaning.

We also came up with a definition for cliche: an overused or unoriginal phrase that almost everyone is familiar with. Cliches can be true (that's why we repeat them) but poets try to avoid cliche. Why would we want to get rid of cliches?

I wrote a list of cliche similes on the board, which students copied, then rewrote to sound more interesting and original.

No homework tonight.

Poetry links:

About Langston Hughes: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/83

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