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Your Name: Max McElligott Date: 10/24/14 Genre: Childrens Poetry Books

Literary Analysis

Bibliographic Information: Silverstein, S. (1996) Falling Up: poems and drawings. New York:
HarperCollins Publishers. Specific Poem: Haunted
Plot:
Does The Story Move?: There is a good amount of movement in this poem. It starts out with the narrator
daring readers to enter the Haunted House on Howlin Hill, then takes the reader on an imaginary
journey through the recesses on the house. We start outside on the lawn, then move through the front
door, to the upstairs bedroom, then up to the attic. All it takes is for the narrator to change their mind and
have the hypothetical situation take a turn for the ice creamier.
Is it Plausible and Credible?: Halloween time is coming soon, and all of the children are looking for the
realest and most authentically scary stories and poems to read with each other in the dark. The way that
this story has illustrations to match each detail in the plot makes it a quality poem for children. Most
people chicken out anyway before entering a haunted house, like me.
Setting:
Where Does the Story Take Place?: The story takes place at the Haunted House on Howlin Hill.
Using vivid imagery, the author immerses readers and their senses into a world of dread and fright with
this poem. Readers feel as if they are in the haunted house being scared by all of the creepy happenings.
Setting Affecting Theme: The setting of the story is a rundown abandoned house in a location that is
inferred to be away from civilization and haunted. Creating a feeling of horror in this case is easy for the
author because the setting is ultimately what drives the story. There is no dialogue, and the poem serves
as more of a descriptive piece of literature.
Theme:
Does the Story Have a Theme?: Readers must read all the way down to the last lines (25-26) in order to
find out the theme of the story. People who dare others to do scary things are also scared of doing those
things themselves. The author dares the reader from the beginning of the poem to enter the Haunted
House, yet after all of the described terror, the author fakes out and suggest they all go out for ice cream
instead.
Motifs or Symbols to Intensify Meaning: When poets use adjectives, they do so with great meaning and
purpose behind each word. Words such as wormy, creepin, spirits, ghost, and rotted provide the reader
with rich haunted symbolism. Each line gathers fear and adds it to the building suspense of the
storyline.
Characterization:
Character Development or Growth: In this poem, there are no identifiable characters that we see in the
illustrations. Instead, the description of the characters lies in the story itself such as when it says And
well sing with the zombies and well dance with the dead,. These characters are supposed to be images

of the most repulsively scary things the author could think of so that the poem could switch moods
drastically at the end.
Revealing Characters: The third line of the poem introduces the first imagined horror that could be
lurking within the haunted house; squiggly things with yellow eyes. The rest of the poem is a
combination of personifying things in ghoulish ways and walking readers through a rotting interior of
the Haunted House on Howlin Hill.
Style:
Appropriate Style of Writing: Shel Silverstein is considered to be a master of childrens poetry and a
practitioner of all things literary. His style in this poem suits the purpose perfectly because he intended to
cause shock and fright in his readers. He accomplishes this by keeping his lines short and full of suspense
and putrid description.
Author Creating Mood: The author selected a medium of pencil and printed his illustrations into the
book, thus appearing to be penmanship. We can see what appears to be the ragged outside of a house with
a dilapidated appearance complete with cobwebs on the porch. Before the reader ever starts the poem,
they are filled with a sense of fear and tenseness. This feeling builds up until the end of the poem where
the narrator pitches the idea of going into the haunted house and suggests going out for ice cream instead.
Point of View:
Appropriate to Purpose of Poem?: I enjoy reading this poem because of its point of view being so
interactive and vicarious. Children who read it for the first time will be taken on a journey through a
haunted house in the eyes of someone who is experiencing it firsthand.
Are Cultural Perspectives Highlighted: I didnt see many signs of cultural perspectives being
highlighted accept for a human characteristic of shying away from things that may appear scary or
dangerous. The author may have intended the reader to ask themselves if they would have entered the
house and braved the gruesome sights inside. Personal
Describe Characteristics of this text specific to the genre:
Creating Sensory Images: This poem definitely creates sensory images that put the reader in the middle
of an old haunted house. There is a musty study, which could be used as a teachable moment if students
did not know what musty means.
Natural Sounding Rhyming: The pentameter and proper intonation of the poem create a natural and
smooth rhyming scheme that does not follow any official pattern. A couple of lines may pass before the
next rhyming word is used, but this is for the sake of keeping equal pace with the original rhyming word.
Appropriate Figurative Language: Some of the language in the poem is face paced, and you would
have to know every single word perfectly in order to understand the desired feeling of the poem. For
primary grades, I would shy away from using a poem book like Falling Up because some of the
illustrations are very graphic and some language in the poems could be seen as too dark or mature for
them. For example, in this poem there is a ghost with an axe in his head.
Reflections: My mom read this book to me when I was little as a bed time story archive. We
would get through about five or six poems and it would be off to dreamland. The reason that this
book appeals so much to young readers is because of the irony and satirical nature of some of the

poems. The entire books theme is about opposites, or seeing things in different ways that we
ourselves would have a hard time imagining. We could bring up diverse portrayals with this
poetry book and get kids thinking about clich topics in exciting new ways.

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