1997 Poem: “The Death of a Toad” (Richard Wilbur)
Prompt: Read the following poem carefully. Then write a well-organized essay in which you explain how formal elements such as structure, syntax, diction, and imagery reveal the speaker’s response to the death of a toad.
THE DEATH OF A TOAD
A toad the power mower caught,
Chewed and clipped of a leg, with a hobbling hop has got
To the garden verge, and sanctuaried him
Under the cineraria leaves, in the shade
Of the ashen and heartshaped leaves, in a dim,
Low, and a final glade.
The rare original heartsbleed goes,
Spends in the earthen hide, in the folds and wizenings, flows
In the gutters of the banked and staring eyes. He lies
As still as if he would return to stone,
And soundlessly attending, dies
Toward some deep monotone,
Toward misted and ebullient seas
And cooling shores, toward lost Amphibia^Rs emperies.
Day dwindles, drowning and at length is gone
In the wide and antique eyes, which still appear
To watch, across the castrate lawn,
The haggard daylight steer.
I believe an intro paragraph along with shorts bits of how the thesis is supported in the body are enough practice for me to know what I would do with this prompt on an AP essay test.
Everyday, thousands of living things life come to an end, and many of them are so insignificant to us that we would never notice them without some sort of glorification of their passing. Such is the reaction of Richard Wilbur to such events, and this is clearly seen in his poem "The Death of a Toad." In his almost satirical elegy of the lost toad, Wilbur use elements such as syntax, diction and tone to elaborate this response to his readers.
- Wilbur has a formal syntax, which seems to honor the toads passing, making it seem more important to the reader, showing how he views it as well.
- A diction of sentient and mournful words with a beautiful connotation such as "rare original heartbleed" and "some deep monotone" make the reader feel even more sympathetic for the Toads death, show Wilbur's reaction again.
- Lastly, an admiral, mourning tone the Wilbur displays the toad as very important, and as all the above, highlights his response to the death of the toad.