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by Sara Teasdale

Barter Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. In "Barter," Teasdale follows a strict rhyme scheme (ABCBDD). Do you think rhyme helps or hurts this poem get its point across? How? Which end rhyme did you like the best? Why?
  2. Why is the speaker so concerned with the reader's appreciation of life's loveliness? Why does she (we assume it's a she) care if we appreciate it or not? Why the hard sell?
  3. Teasdale catalogs some examples of loveliness in this poem. What did she leave out? If you could add three examples of loveliness, what would they be? (No rainbows, kittens, or puppies allowed—try to find something sensory and unique.)
  4. With its repetition and heavy rhyme, this poem feels a little bit like a song or nursery rhyme. Does this make the poem seem childish? Does the poem sound too playful for the urgency of its message? Why or why not?
  5. Shmoop thinks Teasdale's title choice for this one is pretty good, but why don't you give it a shot. Choose a new title for the poem. How does the new title change the poem? What elements are lost (or added) with this new title?

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