Pomegranate Means Grenade

Decent Essays
Within society, males are upheld to specific stereotypes, such as the need to defend themselves with the use of violence to protect their masculinity, and not be depicted as an “underdog”. Males are encouraged to have the traits of aggression, dominance, speed, and strength. Due to the proclaimed stereotypes, it is often difficult for a male to discover his personal identity and prohibits him from seeing his full potential. However, within the poem, Pomegranate Means Grenade, the speaker encourages his young friend, Jontae, to deviate from the typical stereotypes, and to stand strong, knowing he will not stand alone. Pomegranate Means Grenade exemplifies the need for young males to deviate from the traditional gender roles set by society, to…show more content…
In literature, red is often associated with blood and violence. Four researchers, Erella Hovers, Shimon Ilani, Ofer Bar-Yosef, and Bernard Vandermeersch, studied colored symbolism and concluded; “Color symbolism is one of the symbolic frameworks used extensively by contemporary societies to convey information and abstract messages through material objects” (Hovers et al.,2003.) Through the use of colors, May vividly expresses the emotions of the speaker towards society, regarding the topics of warfare and education. He specifically selects certain colors, like black and red, to stir up emotions within Jontae. The colors create a symbolic image, ultimately leading up to represent the violent scenes taking place. May writes his fear; “I know how often red is the only color left to reach” (18-19), to show his apprehension for Jontae a young male in society surrounded by warfare. Red in literature often represents blood, sacrifice, and violence. Using colors throughout the poem, creates a more vehement atmosphere, in which Jontae is left to choose between warfare, and discovering his identity in an alternative…show more content…
Throughout the poem, May includes historical figures, like Huang Xiang, to show Jontae that he will not be alone throughout his journey of discovering his identity. May refers to Huang Xiang, a poet who was exiled during the Tiananmen Square incident, who he describes as; “the poet… who was exiled for these” (33-34), while “these” represents the words and the education of the poet. The incorporation of the allusions from a historical point of view, influences the idea that Jontae should stay true to himself, regardless of what the rest of society thinks. The fact that Huang Xiang was exiled for plastering his poems around the Square, goes to prove May’s point regarding society’s overall view on education. May goes on to write “there will always be those who would rather see you pull a pin from a grenade than pull a pen from your backpack” (37-40). Huang Xiang is a prime example of what the speaker longs for Jontae to be like. Roger Garside, a British diplomat who served in Beijing during the crisis explained Xiang’s efforts as “an equally bold initiative on the organizational front: after pasting up his poems on Tiananmen Square…” (Garside, 2005). Xiang exemplifies a deviant of society, with his nonviolent protests, and his education involving poetry. May is determined to convince Jontae that he is not bound to the option of
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