Poem Exposition/ Response Paper - Essay Example

Subject: English Literature (Classic and Modern), Essay Topic: Poem Exposition/ Response Paper: "History Lesson" by Natasha Trethewey Introduction In the poem “History Lesson” by Natasha Trethewey, the stages of progression and direction are seen relating to the travails of the black race…
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Poem Exposition/ Response Paper
Download file to see previous pages The love and influence of the senior members of the family on the younger generation of the blacks is evident in this poem. The event mentioned in the poem needs to be analyzed in the larger historical context. The poet has treated with an extraordinary skill an emotive issue like racism, and mentions about the profound societal transformation through simple words and right type of imagery. The skill of the poet lies in turning an event good enough for the fiction into a sweet little poem, the contents of which capture the hearts of the readers. The overlapping level of repetition as for individual words and the structure, like “flowered hips,” and “the hands on the flowered hips,” the re-use of poetic forms and the rhythmic and metrical reiterations have one common goal to emphasis-- the ideal for which the poem stands for and in this case, to highlight the level of transformation that has taken place in the lifestyle of the blacks. The poet describes the transformation thus: “where she stood on a narrow plot of sand marked colored,” to “standing on a wide strip of Mississippi beach.” The layers of repetition connect the reader to historical concerns. For the black readership it takes them through the memory lane. This comparison indicates is a big psychological leap for the black race as for advancement in societal terms. The repetition is emphatic; it is meant for a purpose. It makes the issue memorable. It informs about the reconciliation and confrontation that is part of the pages of racial history of America, daubed in bloodshed. The motifs get repeated, for example bikini and beach, are the mute witnesses and address the thematic concerns. One cannot say that the poet is obsessed. Repeated words and expressions create a momentum, and they convey a different meaning when they appear elsewhere. Therefore, retelling a word or a sentence is not faulty, and it serves the central purpose of taking a stand against racial injustice. The language of the poem from the beginning to the end is plain. Natasha does not use flamboyant language or flowery words. Historical issues and traumatic experiences are described in a plaintive tone, with restraint. She does not paint a sad picture to injure the emotional world and controls the latent tension. About the newfound freedom to move anywhere in the beach the poet writes, “two years after they opened the rest of this beach to us.” Such an important development, that has far reaching consequences as for the racial relations, has been described comparable to the innocence of a child. Natasha uses ordinary words with extraordinary skill in the poem to convey profound meanings. This is the latent ability of a meritorious poet to say something what she means and at the same time meaning something else to hit an important idea. By using such words she throws open the gates of the mansion of history. She does not create a malicious scene on such an emotive issue like racism, does not overplay emotions and brings sensibility to the poem. The poem delivers the judgment but does not convict any segment of the society with a harsh sentence. Natasha uses the objects to tell the good part of the story, instead of verbal unleashing. The silence of those objects has important implications, as they are the mute witnesses to the historical processes. The entire poem looks like a series of photographs taken during the different stages of history and the objects and things ...Download file to see next pagesRead more
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