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English 101 4 Pages

“Passing Places”


Paper Instruction: Analyzing a Poem

Diana Hacker notes, “All good writing about literature attempts to answer a question, spoken or unspoken, about the text” (646). A concise and insightful literature paper should provide a “meaningful interpretation, presented forcefully and persuasively” (646).

Before you start composing your paper, please read the attached poem, “Passing Places” by the contemporary Indo-Caribbean writer LelawateeManoo-Rahming and our student sample paper on poetry. For the literary analysis, please check the handout “The Elements of Poetry” and the assigned pages on poetry (especially 858-859) in Literature.

 The final draft of your paper should be a 3- to 4-page essay (12 point font, 1” margins, double-spaced) that analyzes “Passing Places.”

 Key Features:

  1. An introduction that leads gracefully to the thesis. Please make sure that your thesis will answer the central question you have asked about the poem(s). Your thesis should be analytical and say in a nutshell what you wish to emphasize – your central idea, the point you want to make about your topic. Your thesis should be as specific as possible and foreshadow the body paragraphs.
  2. The body should elaborate your thesis, providing evidence in form of textual support. Please show how the most significant literary devices used in the poem reinforce meaning. The body paragraphs should be appropriately organized, including use of clear topic sentences. The paragraphs should be in logical order and use transitions to show links between ideas.
  3. Analysis and interpretation that is supported with specific textual evidence from the poem (minimum four quotes or references to the poem). Please list a number of crucial poetic devices used in the poem and explain how they reinforce meaning. Please document your source by using the MLA format (compare Rules for Writers 406-413).
  4. A conclusion that provides closure to the essay.
  5. MLA Style (heading, margins, title, line spacing, page numbering, parenthetical citation, and a Works Cited Page, RW 444-455).
  6. Observance of the conventions of standard written English.



But we

Who live in that soil

Still have our invisible

Passing places

Like these pages of words

Where we retreat

To let those we would love

Slip away

You first brought me

to this country

your Highlands of Scotland

five years ago

I felt I’d returned home

at last after millennia of watching

mountains grow old and die

And in the blair

where I had hidden

in my primordial existence

I wanted you

to stop the car

to hold you

in the darkness

of the Black isle

but my arms stayed

wrapped around my breasts

and for five years

I have wondered

if you ever knew

Now we are here again

in the Highlands of Scotland

driving from Dingwall


You tell me about

these passing places

on this one car road

from East to West

I think about all the times

we were on collision courses

like these cars

rushing in opposite directions

and how we always found

a passing place

where one of us

would step into this bulge

to let the other slip away

without touching

with no joining

Here in this land

Of brown heather-covered beinns

And stark snow-capped

Peaks of monroes

I weep

I see an old woman

bent huddled

from the bitter wind

scouring this Hebridian coast

dispossessed of her croft

that will now shelter sheep

She is me

standing in this passing place

in the dark northern days

never crossed by a winter sun

I stand aside

and watch you cold

but we never hug each other

never let the fires in our soul

mingle and explode

Now I drink tea from cupped hands

eat Marks and Spencer cherry pie

on the marsh of Shieldaig

and watch you feed pastry crums

to hens prancing around you

like puppies on two legs

The rooster crows

and takes me back to a native land

heavy with heat

where the sun doesn’t care

about us toiling bareback

on treeless roads

where there are no signs

proclaiming passing places


Title: “Passing Places”
Length: 4 pages (1100 Words)
Style: MLA


“Passing Places”- the importance of communication in a relationship: The view from the other side.


LelawateeManoo-Rahming was born in 1960 in Trinidad and Tobago. She is a mechanical engineer specializing in building services though she is more famous for her work as a part time college lecturer. She began her poetry career when she accepted an institute scholarship to attend the Caribbean Writers summer’s institute (CWSI) in 1994. From here, she further branched into other fields of literature becoming an essayist and a fictional writer. 

Her work takes an in-depth look into global issues such as sexual orientation, gender, spirituality, indo-Caribbean culture and abuse. In her poem “Passing places” Lelawatee Manoo-Rahming’s speaker voices out her strained association with her lover by utilizing imagery and metaphors to paint a picture of the strained nature of their relationship specifically with regards to the lack of communication in their relationship.


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