Poem Thirty One Analysis

Decent Essays

Kearney’s powerful composition on the history of racial inequality in our country, incorporated multiple examples of defamiliarization, therefore, two of which I will explore are within verses nine and twelve. In verse nine, the word “shotgun” (Kearney Line 31), felt foreign since it is famously known for being a weapon; however, when slaves were brought to the U.S, they built small rectangular homes that were called shotgun shacks (O’Dea). I imagine Kearney’s intention behind line thirty-one was to capture a glimpse of his aunt’s life and how nonexistent opportunities kept her from having and experiencing more in life. After careful evaluation of verse twelve, I noticed when the author combined “rice” (38) with “tears” (38), he caused “rice” to feel unfamiliar because of the forced convergence of the two unalike qualities. My theory is Kearney purposely connected both to convey a message that many African American slaves, tilled the soil of Southern rice plantations and endured pain whether physical and or …show more content…

An individual without prior knowledge of the cultural history and lifestyle of African American families, prior to and during the Civil Rights Movement, would explain that “wheatbread heels jim crowed in fridges” (Kearney Line 17), is about the preservation of bread. Therefore, they would not recognize that the derogatory term, Jim Crow, is a racial slur and was once the title for segregation laws in the U.S (“Jim Crow Laws”); and grasp why some African American families in poverty during that period in history, kept leftovers to use for other meals, which would determine the line as concrete because of the person’s absence of familiarity with the cultural background. However, if an individual can relate to these events or has deep understanding of the cultural background, the line would then become

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