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Activity Overview

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.

Jabberwocky TPCASTT Example



The title sounds weird. Jabber? It might mean to talk really fast, like “jabbering.” Maybe it’s a fast-sounding language?


The first and last stanzas are in the woods in the evening, with animals moving about. The second stanza begins with a father warning his son of a monster with sharp teeth and claws called the Jabberwock; he also warns him of the Jubjub bird and the Bandersnatch. The son takes up his sword and seeks out the monsters. He rests by the Tumtum tree when suddenly the Jabberwock appears. The son cuts down the Jabberwock and takes his head back to his father, where his father receives him into his arms with joy at the boy’s triumph.


The narrator uses nonsense words and real words, and sometimes a combination of the two. All create a sense of anticipation, fear, and adventure. Some of the more prominent words and phrases include “beware the Jabberwock”, “jaws”, “claws”, “frumious”, “vorpal sword”, “eyes of flame”, “burbled”, “snicker-snack”, “left it dead”, and “chortled.”


The narrator’s tone is suspenseful, elevated in style, and playful.


There are a few shifts. The first happens between the second and third stanzas, where the father warns his son of the creatures in the woods, but then the son takes up his sword and strikes out after them anyway. The next shift occurs when the son returns home and his father is relieved and ecstatic. The last stanza repeats the first, but this time, it’s not a sense of foreboding; instead, it seems to show that everything returns to normal.


The title is about a monster called the Jabberwock, which the son sets out with his sword to kill.


The theme of the poem is the classic battle of good versus evil, and also the boy’s desire to make his father proud. His father’s sheer joy at his son’s success further confounds this theme.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Perform a TPCASTT analysis of “Jabberwocky”. Remember that TPCASTT stands for Title, Paraphrase, Connotation, Attitude/Tone, Shift, Title, Theme.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Choose any combination of scenes, characters, items, and text to represent each letter of TPCASTT.
  3. Write a few sentences describing the importance or meaning of the images.
  4. Finalize images, edit, and proofread your work.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common 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


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

TPCASTT Analysis Rubric Template
Analyze a poem using the the TPCASTT method: Title, Paraphrase, Connotation, Attitude/Tone, Shift, Title, Theme.
Proficient Emerging Beginning Needs Improvement
TPCASTT Responses
Every part of TPCASTT was thoroughly answered and there was sufficient evidence from the text.
Most parts of TPCASTT was answered with sufficient evidence to support claims.
Less than half of TPCASTT was answered and/or responses had insufficient evidence from the text.
Examples and descriptions are missing or too minimal to score.
Depictions chosen for each section are accurate to the poem and reflect time, effort, thought, and care with regard to placement and creation of the scenes.
Depictions chosen for each section are mostly accurate to the poem. They reflect time and effort put into placement and creation of the scenes.
Depictions chosen for each section are inaccurate to the poem. The depictions may be rushed or show minimal effort, time, and care put into placement and creation of the scenes.
Most depictions are missing too many elements or are too minimal to score. Little time or effort has been put into placement and creation of the scenes.
English Conventions
There are no errors in spelling, grammar, or mechanics throughout the storyboard. All writing portions reflect careful proofreading and accuracy to the poem.
There are a few errors in spelling, grammar, and mechanics throughout the storyboard. All writing portions show accuracy to the poem and some proofreading.
There are several errors in spelling, grammar, and mechanics throughout the storyboard. Most writing portions do not reflect proofreading or accuracy to the poem.
Errors in spelling, grammar, and mechanics in writing portions of the storyboard seriously interfere with communication.

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