I was sitting in my Astronomy class, not really paying attention (as usual) and I happened to notice the back of a book that belonged to the guy sitting next to me. It was some kind of science book, physics I think, it doesn't really matter. On the back there was a small section near a corner that said "The Scientific Method." I know we've all been taught the scientific method since our mother's second trimester of pregnancy, but this was a very concise, original, and simplified version that organized itself into three easy steps.
I wrote down what it said, because I knew that I'd end up blogging (or Tweeting, or observing, or talking) about it for this class.
"The Scientific Method"
1. Observe the phenomenon that you are studying in as many ways as possible.
2. Look for regularities. From a hypothesis about what is happening.
3. Test the hypothesis and form your conclusions.
Here we all are, thinking that we have the most brilliant professor (which he totally is, God I want an A) at the University, if not in the state, and all he did was rip off science and some book about eating plants.
I don't want to speak for anyone else, but I had a hard time with our first work sample, and I'd be willing to wager that I wasn't the only one. Most of us are so used to doing things completely backwards of how it was supposed to be done that it was obviously somewhat difficult, not to mention that the line between "analysis" and "interpretation" is slim at best. Once I struggled through it, I did realize that it helped me get a grip on what cummings was trying to say.
I think that the Scientific Method analogy illustrates that most anyone with a 6th grade education is capable of analyzing poetry and prose via the three-step system, it just takes a little bit of thought (oh no!) and some practice. It can almost be done on almost any level; whether you're analyzing a Shakespearian Sonnet in a college level class, or a short Silverstein poem in elementary school, using the 3 steps outlined for us can really help you get a grasp of a poem.
I like it.