Analysis Of The Poem ' White Lies '

1414 Words6 Pages
In her poem, “White Lies,” Trethewey’s theme in the story is discrimination and her struggle with her personal identity in America. Being born bi-racial, Trethewey explores racial identity that she experienced during her childhood. She was born in 1966 in Mississippi to a black mother and a white father. At this time, interracial marriages were not legal in Mississippi and were seen as shameful in society. Trethewey was very light skinned and had the desire to be white. The poem delivers the author’s experience with bigotry while living in the South (Bentley). This created an atmosphere of a racist society where the white community was superior over the African Americans. Growing up during this period, Trethewey felt like a lost little girl struggling with trying to find herself. In The Washington Post, Trethewey said, “Poetry showed me that I wasn’t alone” (Trethewey). This meant that writing poetry helped her to realize that she was not alone in this world of judgment, there were others facing the same issues that she was. The tone of her poem was sadness because of the prejudices she faced. To her, poetry was a place that could hold her grief (Bentley). Throughout her poem, “White Lies,” she desired to tell lies about who she was and how she lived. Her childhood was filled with thoughts and hopes of being white instead of being bi-racial. She states, “The lies I could tell, / when I was growing up” (Trethewey l. 1-2). These lines imply that she could easily lie to cover
Open Document