Poems of Tennyson and Noyes: Pictures in Words

Just as painters capture and manipulate color and light, poets capture and manipulate words and sounds to create a vision for their audiences. Striking examples of pictures in words—not just vivid images but the entire mental picture conjured up by a poet—are to be found in "The Charge of the Light Brigade," by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and "The Highwayman," by Alfred Noyes. Both poems also tell compelling stories and are easily comprehensible as well as appealing to the adolescent reader.

Besides guiding students in a close study of the text of these two poems, the activities and handouts below provide an introduction to the terminology of figurative language. A basic understanding of critical terms can help students to describe and analyze the effects of poetry on readers. Specific activities include an Internet scavenger hunt, discussion and analysis, an exercise involving the interpretation of poetry through visual art, and an opportunity for students to create their own pictures in words.

Guiding Questions

How do Tennyson and Noyes use words to paint vivid and memorable pictures?

How do such "word pictures" emphasize or qualify the meanings of their poems?

Learning Objectives

Analyze, interpret, and understand two classic poems: "The Charge of the Light Brigade" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson and "The Highwayman" by Alfred Noyes

Identify examples of alliteration, onomatopoeia, personification, metaphor, and simile in a poem

Understand and discuss how line, stanza, rhyme, alliteration, onomatopoeia, and other effects of form, phrasing, and sound can enhance the mental picture created by the images in a poem

Create examples of alliteration, onomatopoeia, personification, metaphor, and simile