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Why Classical Poetry Should Be Studied in High School

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When people hear of the word poetry, they normally think it’s boring. A matter of fact, it’s actually not. Most teenagers hate the fact that they are taught poetry, they find no reason to learn it, they find it a waste of time, and they won’t need it in future. I think that classical poems should be studied in high school so that students develop an understanding for more diverse language. Additionally, to also see a different explanation of the human condition. Even though poetry might disengage readers, it has many benefits, for example, it can give a different perspective of love from just everyday words, and the language is more diverse and offers a variety of choices.

Teenagers love music, who doesn’t? If you didn’t know, by picking a song that matches your given poem, it can easily relate. Yes, maybe not at first glance, but after some deconstruction here and there, you’ll be able to see. The chosen classical poem is ‘She Walks in Beauty’ by Lord Byron, along with the selected song is ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ by the popular band, One Direction. By comparing and contrasting both of the chosen pieces, it can show high school students that music, particularly pop, they listen to everyday can relate to poetry, something they are required to learn.

‘She Walks in Beauty’ is a lyrical, rhyming poem that focuses on female beauty and explores the idea that physical appearance depends upon inner goodness and, if in harmony, can result in the romantic ideal of aesthetic perfection. While the meaning of ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ is about how a boy thinks a girl who walks through the door is beautiful, but she is utterly self-conscious about herself, but the boy tries to show her that she is truly beautiful. A key similarity is that they both talk and relate to beauty. While a difference includes that the song by One direction talks mainly about her outside appearance, while the poem talks about inner goodness was well as her outer goodness. This is one way it shows that poetry can benefit.

Most students are used to exhausting basic adjectives to describe things, because they haven’t or don’t want to learn poetry as poetry provides a more diverse language choice. For example, in ‘She Walks in Beauty’ compares a woman’s beauty to the night. “Cloudless climes and starry skies” is a utilized simile that enhances the effect and the optimism of beauty. Bryon also uses light and dark imagery to describe the woman’s features including her raven-colored hair. He praises the balance of “dark and bright” that meets in her eyes. This enhances the woman’s beauty, producing “tender light” that softens her features. The song portrays a few metaphors, including “Baby you light up my world like nobody else”. This specific metaphor for saying that just by looking at her beauty, he doesn’t need anything else in the world but her. This shows that poetry has more advanced and diverse words than your average everyday language.

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The title of the poem perceived as a bit ambiguous. We do not know who ‘she’ is and why is she. Also, the fact that she ‘walks’ in beauty is quite strange, as one would think that beauty is to be expressed in some other way, e.g., face, clothes or personality. While ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ is straighter forward. But the title both talk about beauty or beautiful.

Tones identify the feeling of a piece, you figure out if you want to keep watching, listening or learning. ‘She Walks in Beauty’ is something delightful, very precious. Its moving to see how Lord Byron talks about this ‘she’. On the other hand, the tone is upbeat and happy, trying to get the beautiful insecure girl to see herself how other people see how beautiful she is: “Or softly lightens o’er her face;/ Where thoughts serenely sweet express,/ How pure, how dear their dwelling-place”.

The phrase of words in poetry picked out delicately to match perfectly, it takes time and effort. Teachers find poems that somewhat interest the students so they can teach them how to read and write and understand any text give to them. After studying and letting poetry take its place, teachers notice that students work is achieving higher levels for their English academic work. It shows kids how to write their assessment tasks and it develops their choice of words, it expands. So, students don’t have to use the first word that comes to their head in an exam but after learning poetry they have much a bigger vocabulary compacity.

After comparing and contrasting Lord Byron's poem ‘She Walks in Beauty’ and One Direction's ‘What Makes You Beautiful’, I fully believe that classic poems should be studied in high school so that students develop an understanding for more diverse language, as well as see a different explanation of the human condition. If you were against poetry, don't be! Poetry must be supported so that children can learn!

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Why Classical Poetry Should Be Studied in High School. (2023, September 08). Edubirdie. Retrieved November 30, 2023, from
“Why Classical Poetry Should Be Studied in High School.” Edubirdie, 08 Sept. 2023,
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Why Classical Poetry Should Be Studied in High School [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Sept 08 [cited 2023 Nov 30]. Available from:
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