TPCASTT That Poetry Thing A Foundation for Pre-AP classes “No Difference” by Shel Silverstein Small as a peanut, Big as a giant, We’re all the same size When we turn off the light Rich as a sultan, Poor as a mite, We’re all worth the same When we turn off the light. Red, black or orange, Yellow or white We all look the same When we turn off the light So maybe the way To make everything right Is for God to just reach out And turn off the light! Title • 1. Read the title • No Difference • 2. Predict what you think the title might mean • I think the title will compare two things that alike. Paraphrase • 1. Read the poem (twice if you have the time) • 2. Rewrite the poem into your own words focusing on what the poem SAYS. • Shel Silverstein uses 4 stanzas to explain that people are the same no matter their size, economic status, or color. He also implies that the true equalizer is God’s turning off of the “light”. Connotation • 1. Analyze poem for literary devices (all that “Englishy” stuff) • 2. Break smaller pieces of the poem down to look for additional meanings • A rhyming poem in nearly abcb rhyme scheme, “No Difference” is written in quatrains and relies heavily on similies to compare differences in human beings. Silverstein uses contrasting ideas such as “peanut” and “giant”, as well as “sultan” and “mite” to illustrate the extremes of the human condition. His usage and repetition of “turn off the light” infers looking the same and being worth the same in the dark. That can have several meanings. It could mean that in the dark we are the same because people cannot “see”, or judge one another. It could mean that “darkness”, or suffering (the absence of God’s light) could be the great equalizer of humanity. Silverstein’s last stanza about God turning the light off on people to set the world right could mean either God encouraging us to gather in the darkness more often, or it could mean God’s permanently pulling the plug on humanity. Attitude • 1. How does the narrator of the poem feel about the subject? • 2. How does the writer feel about the subject of the poem? • The narrator of the poem clearly believes that all human are essentially the same regardless of money, race or physical appearance. In this poem I believe the narrator and the writer harbor the same attitude toward the equality of mankind. Shifts • 1. Identify shifts in the poem (subject, tone, speaker or attitudes) • The first three quatrains of the poem are all similar in the tone and structure – serving to describe people and their equality. The last stanza, however, shifts to a more moralistic viewpoint. It doesn’t just describe how people are the same, but what God should do about making right the injustices of humanity. Theme • 1. What is the point, or universal meaning that the writer is discussing? • Shel Silverstein expresses a common theme of the equality of people. Silverstein uses opposites to illustrate differences, then repeats “turn off the light” to infer that humans are the same. Tone • Identify tone using DIDLS or tone lists and cite evidence from the text • Silverstein uses a child-like tone, as expressed by his simple wording use of subjects that children usually use for judgment such as rich/poor, big/small Title • 1. Examine the title again • 2. How can you now interpret the poem? • The title now obviously refers to the differences in humanity and that the author sees no differences in the value of people regardless of social status.