Credit goes to Heidi on this one. She introduced me to this poem. As a thank-you, please accept this picture of a cat cuddling with a hamster.
I know, it’s the end of the year. High school teachers taught their final classes last week, but maybe you can put this in your back pocket and save it for next year’s poetry units. It’s a mini-lesson on tone, which, let’s face it, isn’t the most exciting aspect of poetry. Introducing it can lead to looks like this from students.
On to the mini-lesson.
I passed out paper copies of the following poem. It’s called “Lost Generation” and it’s by Jonathan Reed. Here’s it is:
I am part of a lost generation.
And I refuse to believe that
I can change the world.
I realize this may be a shock, but
"Happiness comes from within"
Is a lie, and
"Money will make me happy"
So in thirty years, I will tell my children
They are not the most important thing in my life.
My employer will know that
I have my priorities straight because
Is more important than
I tell you this:
Once upon a time
Families stayed together
But this will not be true in my era.
This is a quick fix society
Experts tell me
Thirty years from now, I will be celebrating the tenth anniversary of my divorce.
I do not concede that
I will live in a country of my own making.
In the future,
Environmental destruction will be the norm.
No longer can it be said that
My peers and I care about this Earth.
It will be evident that
My generation is apathetic and lethargic.
It is foolish to presume that
There is hope.
And all of this will come true unless we reverse it.
We had a discussion about the tone of the poem. What’s the speaker’s attitude? What words or phrases add to this attitude? What are your thoughts about what he’s saying about your generation? Most of them are all like this:
Then comes the mind-blowing part.
I got them to read it line-by-line backwards. Feel free to do the same yourself. You’ll probably have the same reaction the kids did.
One student actually made this very same gesture.
Once I put the kids’ brains back together, we discussed the attitude this time around, and what words added to it. Several words were the same as last time, which led to a discussion about how tone can affect the way we look to certain words and phrases.
That’s all for now. Again, thank you Heidi!
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