Before reading the poem and responding to the questions below

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World Lit I
Poetry: “Chess” – Rosario Castellanos
Name(s): _________________________
________________________________
Before reading the poem and responding to the questions below, read the
biographical information in your textbook (p630) about the poet, Rosario
Castellanos, and fill in the ‘author information’ in your South American
Literature unit worksheet packet.
After reading the poem, “Chess”, on page 631, discuss the ideas below and
respond to the following questions.
1. What is the relationship between the two people?
2. Why do they decide to play chess?
3. What is the goal of the game? What closing words reveal the game’s power?
4. How is the speaker’s actual experience of the game different from what he/she anticipated?
5. Analyze the structure of the poem. How many stanzas are there? What is the focus or main
idea of each stanza?
6. What is the HYPERBOLE in line 10? What does it imply about the players involvement and
investment in the game?
7. Poems often have a “bigger” meaning than just the literal events and actions described in the
poem. The two people represent any/all people in a friendship/relationship. What does the
chess game symbolize?
8. Why is ‘chess’ an appropriate and suitable game for this symbol? (Look for descriptive details
in the poem that highlight aspects of chess; think about how they relate to the symbolic idea.)
9. What is IRONIC about the poem? (Hint: Question 4 above may help you!) How does this
irony contribute to the overall meaning – the THEME – of the poem? What is the theme?
10. Personal Reflection: Have you ever played a competitive game with a good friend? Would you
run for a competitive office against a good friend? Why or why not? To what extent, if any,
would a “winner” and a “loser” in your relationship threaten your good feelings toward each
other?
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