All Common Core: 10th Grade English Language Arts Resources
Example Question #1 : Analyze A Subject’s Portrayal In Two Media: Ccss.Ela Literacy.Rl.9 10.7
On what kind of artistic work is this poem based?
This is a very general question that interrogates your basic understanding of the text, and your particular awareness of the artistic focus of the poem.
The answer to this question is, essentially, to be found in the title. An "Urn" is a piece of pottery; the trick of this question was in the answer choices, which gave you opportunities to doubt yourself and become confused by the author's surrounding rhetoric.
The second stanza directly discusses music, BUT it does so in a general, hypothetical way. "Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard/ are sweeter," is a general statement that the author believes to be true in theory, he is not, at that time, listening to music. The area of discussion here is the nature of live music and interaction vs captured and reproduced art, like the ancient urn the author is looking at.
While the author does discuss an image, extensively, the image is painted onto a piece of property. This key distinction is highlighted in the final stanza, when the author turns his attention to the permanence of the artistic object, referring to it as something that "when old age shall this generation waste, [...] shall remain." Pottery is a permanent artistic object (unless it breaks), it's solid, lasting nature is a key aspect, this is not true of paintings. The images are not merely painted, but forged into a solid, "cold" shape. "Painting" was a tempting choice, but one that excluded a key aspect of the poem's treatment of artistic permanence and the "cold pastoral."