There are some images and events that stick with a person forever and can change their entire outlook on life. Sometimes these events are experienced indirectly, through the media, but that does not mean that it impacts the person any less. Audre Lorde is one of those people who is indirectly affected by a tragedy that she witnesses through the eyes of the media and her society. For Audre Lorde, the brutal murder of a young African American boy sticks with her and inspires her to write an emotional poem entitled “Afterimages.” The image of the boy, Emmett till, is forever engraved in Audre Lorde’s brain (Lorde 48). Her poem clearly expresses how distraught she is, not only with what happens to Emmett Till, but also with the views of society as a whole. The theme for Audre Lorde’s “Afterimages” is traumatic events can reflect the attitudes of members of a society and can also significantly impact the lives of young people.
Audre Lorde’s poem shows the reader the prevalence of racism and inequality during the early twentieth century. The poet describes the brutal murder of Emmett Till, an African American boy, for whistling at a white woman. This directly reflects how many white people felt toward African Americans during Audre Lorde’s early life. Audre Lorde mentions the location of her poem is Jackson, Mississippi (Lorde 47). For modern readers, this is another direct way that the poet references racial inequality and the attitudes of people because it is common knowledge