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The Tough Life - Essay Example

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In the poem “The Woman Hanging from the Thirteenth Floor Window,” Joy Harjo presents a woman, Native-American, using her finger to hang from a window as she contemplates committing suicide. The poem portrays how people’s predicaments play significant role in their decision…
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The Tough Life
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"The Tough Life"

Download file to see previous pages She appears embittered about “lost beauty.”The woman lives in abject poverty, endures racial discrimination, suffers from mental illness, and feels abandoned. She is also depressed and lonely. The image of the woman reflects on the life experience of Native-Americans, secluded from their culture and entangled in cyclic poverty. For the woman, a mother of three, suicide seems to be the only avenue through which she can escape the harsh life in Chicago. As the author asserts, the woman speaks out for the other women watching her dangle from the window on the thirteenth floor. The squalid health of women becomes evident. Her only comfort is the memory of the good life she experienced as a child, which is nothing but a dream at the moment. The woman lives in a cruel world, surrounded by people who seem to care less even if she jumps to the ground. Her life is basically separated from death by a very thin thread. She is unable to speak about her despair, and attempted suicide seems the only sure way through which she can drive her point home.
Cross-cultural issues appear the most significant problem in the poem. The woman hangs from a window in the 13th floor, which is often associated with bad luck and avoided in most buildings, where floor numbering usually jumps to fourteen from twelve. From personal experience of life away from one’s culture, I can attest what might have led the woman to think of attempted suicide. In New York City, I have also endured a very tough life relative to the one I lived back in my native country. Unlike in my homeland, I have to collect my laundry and wash away from my home. Also, I am forced to take the subway to the university, which takes a long time and thus very tiresome. Further, here in New York City, I have to walk a lot, while back in my country, I have my own car and a driver. Life has become so stressful ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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