"Because I Could Not Stop for Death" TPCASTT
Lesson Plan Reference
Grade Level 6-12
Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)
Type of Assignment Individual
Type of Activity: TPCASTT Poetry AnalysisCommon Core Standards
- [ELA-Literacy/RL/6/4] Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone
- [ELA-Literacy/RL/6/5] Analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the theme, setting, or plot
- [ELA-Literacy/RL/6/7] Compare and contrast the experience of reading a story, drama, or poem to listening to or viewing an audio, video, or live version of the text, including contrasting what they “see” and “hear” when reading the text to what they perceive when they listen or watch
Poetry is one of the most expressive forms of literature. It can evoke emotions, set a mood, tell a story, or create a deeply and universally understood feeling in its readers. This makes expounding its elements, and understanding its rich meaning, comparisons, and symbols, even more important.
The TP-CASTT method of poetry analysis is a great way to teach students to dissect a poem and understand its parts. It helps students to uncover the deeper meanings within poems while giving them the confidence to be self-educators. TP-CASTT Poetry Analysis is an order of operations similar to PEMDAS for math. It asks students to list items in sequential order and answer questions based on their reading of the poem.
TPCASTT Example for "Because I Could Not Stop for Death"
|“Because I Could Not Stop for Death” might imply that the narrator cheated death in some way.|
|The poem begins by personifying death as a person in a carriage, who picks up the narrator as a passenger. As they ride around peacefully, they see many things: children playing, fields of grain, and finally the head stone of the narrator. Here, she realizes that it has been centuries since she died. However, it only felt like a few hours.|
|Going beyond the literal meaning, Dickinson almost seems content with death.|
|Using words like “kindly”, “leisure”, “passed”, “riding”, “slowly”, and “civility” suggests an attitude of comfort and peace.|
|A shift occurs in stanza six, in the last four lines. “Since then- ‘tis Centuries – and yet/ Feels shorter than the Day/ I first surmised the Horses’ Heads/ Were toward Eternity.” The previous attitude that seemed peaceful changes to an enlightenment that is startling. The speaker comes to the realization that the ride has been centuries and not hours.|
|After reading the poem, my interpretation of the title was incorrect. The speaker was unable to cheat death. No matter what, when it is your time, it will come unexpectedly. No one is prepared, just as the speaker was not prepared.|
|The theme that 'Death is Eternity' is evident as the speaker realizes how far death goes as there is no concept of time.|
This is a great activity to have students do in a small group!
Once students are finished, ask them to create a storyboard with the TPCASTT steps:
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)
Perform a TPCASTT analysis of "Because I Could Not Stop for Death". Remember that TPCASTT stands for Title, Paraphrase, Connotation, Attitude/Tone, Shift, Title, Theme.
- Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
- Choose any combination of scenes, characters, items, and text to represent each letter of TPCASTT.
- Write a few sentences describing the importance or meaning of the images.
- Finalize images, edit, and proofread your work.
- Save and submit storyboard to assignment.
(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)