The Youngest Daughter Essay

1116 Words5 Pages
Autumn Gordon
Dr. Green
Writing about Literature
3 June 2012
The theme of Cathy Song’s “The Youngest Daughter” is about the youngest daughter of six growing old along with her mother. The title on the poem is also ironic because Song uses imagery to show that the daughter is no longer young. Song also uses using imagery daughter’s skin tone lacking sunlight to symbolize the isolation the daughter has because she is caring for her mother. The mother and daughter have a co-dependent relationship with each other, even though the daughter resents caring for her sickly mother for so many years. The daughter is extremely unhappy to the point of it causing her pain, because her life is consumed with caring for
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Legal Scholar K. Phillips suggests that the daughter’s skin is “overly delicate, pallid, and friable”. She also shows the isolation of the daughter by showing how repetitive the mother and daughters life is. “This morning” and “In the afternoons” shows how routine day by day the mother and daughters life is (Song 17, 37). The routineness of their lives is also shown when the speaker states “ritual of tea and rice” (Song 39). They have their daily habits that they do not defer from.
The mother and daughter relationship is shown as co-dependent, even though the daughter resents taking care of her mother. K. Phillips also believes “The mother and daughter switch back and forth between being the caregiver and the cared for, the soother of pain and its cause”. The daughter cares for the mother by bathing her, but yet when the daughter has “migraine[s]” the mother “massages the left side of her face” (Song 13, 15). Song shows how the mother cares for the daughter along with the daughter caring for her. The mother also prepares their afternoon meal which she does as “a token” for her daughters “white body”; this also shows her caring for her daughter (Song 42). The resentment that the daughter has for caring for her mother is shown first as she, the speaker refers to the “migraine[s]” she has (Song 13). The strain of
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