Lesson 5


Identify and analyze the metaphors, similes, and personification in a poem. 

Interpret the poem "The Dawn's Awake" beyond its literal meaning in the context of the Harlem Renaissance.

Explain how the visual and aural depiction of the poem enhances or detracts from the meaning.

Readings and Materials

Target Task


Read the poem “Waiting” by Nikki Grimes to answer the questions below.

What examples of figurative language do you see? Copy one example down. Explain what the author is literally trying to convey. 

Key Questions


Read the poem “The Dawn’s Awake!” by Otto Leland Bohanan to answer the questions below:

  • Identify two examples of personification. What is being personified and how in each example?
  • Identify an example of metaphor. Which two things are being compared? What is the poet literally trying to convey?
  • Read the line, “Fathers! Torn and numb” How does the tone in this sentence contrast with the tone of the rest of the poem?
  • This poem was written during the Harlem Renaissance—a time considered to be the rebirth of African-American arts and culture. Knowing this, how might one interpret the “Dawn” beyond its literal meaning? What might the “Dawn” represent?

Read “Song to Woody” by Bob Dylan. 

  • Identify two examples of personification. What is being personified and how in each example? How do these examples enhance the mood of the poem? 
  • What other poetic devices does Bob Dylan use here? How do they impact the mood of the poem? 
  • This was written as a tribute to the folk music legend Woody Guthrie, who was a huge influence on Dylan. How does Bob Dylan heroize Woody Guthrie in this poem? Which lines make you think that? 
  • Listen to the audio of this song. How does the music enhance or detract from the poem? 



This lesson connects to an essential question.

Common Core Standards

  • RL.6.4 — Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.

  • RL.6.7 — Compare and contrast the experience of reading a story, drama, or poem to listening to or viewing an audio, video, or live version of the text, including contrasting what they "see" and "hear" when reading the text to what they perceive when they listen or watch.