This paragraph displays a good understanding of the prompt and text. The formatting and organization are appropriate to the assignment. College-level writing skills are exhibited in the presentation.

Understanding of Prompt and Text (25%):

Inadequate-Student seems to have no understanding of the prompt or the text. One or either may be identified.

Average-Student exhibits a superficial but accurate understanding of prompt or text. One or either may be identified.

Good-Student shows an understanding the is beyond superficial but not clearly original or insightful.

Superb-Student displays an understanding that is clearly insightful or original and beyond what other students typically show.

Formatting (25%) and Organization (25%):

Appropriate: Student clearly followed the directions or used other formatting and organization options not distracting to the reader.

Not Appropriate: Student did not follow the directions and used a formatting and organizational strategy that was distracted from the assignment.

Writing Skills (25%):

Are Exhibited-Student writes objectively, avoiding first and second person pronouns, avoids use of slang terms, clichés, and metaphors, and displays a consistent understanding of standard grammar, usage, and mechanics, including spelling and punctuation.

Are Not or Does Not Exhibit: Student writes in first or second person, uses slang, clichés, and metaphorical language, or displays an inconsistent understanding of grammar, usage, and mechanics. Multiple errors in a short writing are extremely problematic.


In a reasonable manner, discuss the following prompt:

Baudelaire’s The Carcass is known as an eternizing poem. An eternizing poem looks upon a much loved subject and makes it live forever, potentially. Read Baudelaire’s example of eternizing poem carefully and then explain who is loved, how love for this person is expressed, and how Baudelaire can make the unnamed person live forever.

Compose a paragraph of 50-100 words.

Avoid use of first and second person pronouns. Write from an objective point of view.

Avoid contractions as contractions are always slang terms.


Times New Roman 12 Font is preferred if optional.

Please double space if possible.


 A good paragraph consists of a clear topic sentence, two or three sentences of explanation or exposition, and a conclusion sentence that re-states the topic in view of the evidence.

 Writing Skills (GUMP)-25%:

 Correct grammar should be used throughout paper. Pay special attention to pronoun/antecedent agreement.

 Correct spelling is expected.

 Correct usage is expected. Make sure that words are used in the appropriate context and with the appropriate meaning. Avoid slang terms.

 Correct mechanics should be used throughout paper. Pay special attention to the avoidance of sentence fragments and run-on sentences. Remember that a complete sentence consists of a complete subject and corresponding complete verb.

 Correct punctuation is expected. Pay special attention to comma usage. Keep in mind that, no matter the discipline, consistent comma usage is the key to correct comma usage.

THESE ARE TWO ANNOUNCEMENTS FROM MY PROFESSOR ABOUT THIS ASSIGNMENT. He gives VERY specific details and answers to make sure people are reading his announcements.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

One of the many aspects of trying to critique literature is purposely or accidentally adding information into an author’s work to make it say something that it really does not say. Inexperienced critics such as World Lit students, do this all the time, and they are encouraged by experienced critics who, in the course of their studies, believe they have enough information that they can add to an interpretation of a work based on evidence. These critics are no more right than the World Lit student. In fact, their additions are betrayals of the inspiration and the intent.

What am I talking about? Well, much in the way of interpretation and imposition has been added to the work that students are writing about this week, Baudelaire’s The Carcase. Many volumes have been written about who the woman is “this summer morn when warmth and beauty mingle”–many. However, it seems like if there were very good clues as to her identity, that all critics would arrive at the same conclusion. They do not. The problem is that, search through the poem as many times as one may, she is not described at all. She is given various nicknames, and these nicknames may have had some relevance to Baudelaire, but if they did, he does not share them in the poem. Sometimes, in order to provide good and accurate commentary about a poem, critics simply must say that the author does not give enough information to say who a person in a poem is only that he has some, apparently, sweet and affectionate nicknames for her–or him. (This is a huge hint about how to respond to the prompt)

A critic can also be asked to explain how a particular action is shown in a poem. For instance, how does the narrator show a woman in a poem his love for her? There are many ways, but again, what critics must avoid is adding stuff that is not in the poem. He might ask her to recall a moment in their combined lives that explains how an abstraction such as love becomes a living or dead, sort-of-breathing thing. He may talk about how this thing increases exactly the way love increases, how the sun shines upon this thing as it shines upon love, and how the possibilities of new life arise from love and this thing. Every comparison works when it describes something that comes from  love–if love is what the author is writing about.  (This is a huge hint about how to respond to the prompt)

It is no hard task for a commentator to understand how something is long-lasting. In fact, do we not only talk about things that interest us and more about those things that keep us interested? To say, “I will write a poem about you that will last forever” does not work if the poem does not hold anyone’s interest, but I do not know how long we must be reading it for that to apply, 100 years, 150 years, 500 years? If the object of our love or our poem is not going to be around in 100 years, is an eternity all that she will ever know? Yes, I think so.  (This is a small hint about how to respond to the prompt)

For many of you, I have given the necessary hints to write the paper. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask. Questions give me more ways to help with writing issues.


I have enjoyed receiving a few emails from your peers commenting about the difficulty that students are having with the writing assignments. I have been at a loss trying to explain to myself and others why students are struggling with what I find to be fairly simple assignments. Your peers have helped me come to one pretty strong conclusion: Contemporary students have been “taught” to think that the correct approach to understanding art–thus, literature–is through interpretation. However, this is not true. The correct approach to understanding art–thus, what we are reading–is through critical analysis. 

To interpret” means to tell the meaning of or to align with individual belief or judgment. It can also be to represent through a performance or other direction. Some of this can help bring a person to understand an artistic work to some degree. However, to “tell” meaning implies that meaning has to be created. Who would do that? The work or the one determining the meaning? I am afraid that it has to be the one creating the meaning. Therefore, the interpretation is one step removed from the work itself. Obviously, if one interprets by aligning a work with one’s own belief or judgment, the interpretation is removed from the work itself because it is highly unlikely that the artist and the interpreter would have the exact same belief systems or judgment. Finally, on this point, if you have ever seen a movie or television show based on a book, you are well aware of  interpretive shortcomings. Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is a great book. The movie is barely watchable. Why? The director who “interpreted” the book through his belief system and judgment did not capture the appealing aesthetic aspects of the book. It happens all the time. Occasionally, the movie  or television show is better than the book, in which case, the belief system and judgment of the director has more appealing aesthetic aspects than the book. Neither situation helps us much in the understanding of the original work.

In my assignments, I do not ask for interpretations. Please avoid them. I never ask you to supply meaning, to align the work with your values or judgment, or to perform or present these works in you own manner.

What do I want? Critical Analysis. To analyze is to break something down to its individual parts. The adjective “critical” says that you should analyze through a careful and judicious evaluation. All of my prompts require you to find a part of a work through a careful evaluation of the entire work.

In this week’s assignment, one of the parts to find is “Who is loved?” You will search the entire poem to find that part. However, the analysis to find this part may reveal more of an absence than a certainty (HUGE HINTS). To critically analyze a work and say, “This part is unclear or unidentifiable,” and then offer evidence to support that obscurity or lack of information is a proper critical analysis if true.

The second part of this week’s assignments is to find “How is this person loved?” This is a little more difficult because love is compared to something, a carcass, that appears so foreign to traditional ideas of love. It seems that only Baudelaire would think of comparing love to a carcass, but it works if you think in terms of love growing, giving life, multiplying, causing people to swoon, etc. That is what the carcass does—and I have just given you stuff to write about.

The last question that is to be answered is how is the love kept alive. I am going to say it here to see who reads through the end of lecture. Answer: Their “decomposing amours” or fermenting love is kept alive because he wrote about it in a memorable poem. Yes, that is the answer. Use it! Write it!

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