Sunday, April 17, 2011

What the Mirror Said by Lucille Clifton

Lucille Clifton has a very interesting writing style, in that she uses all lower case throughout her writing. She also does not use fancy punctuation, so I thought it was funny that her typically simple punctuation was interrupted by a semi-colon in this particular poem. The structure of this poem is important because the way she breaks up her lines emphasizes the grouping of the words and affects the way the poem is read. She also repeats the word "listen" at the beginning of each point she makes, which makes the poem into more of a commanding, empowering speech.

Many women have to face their reflection on a daily basis, and sometimes it is hard for them to look at themselves and see all of the beauty in the reflection. This poem sounded like exactly the opposite of this: she is convincing herself of all the good things, and not letting herself feel inadequate in any way. In the context of the poem, she seems to be looking into a mirror and thinking about her reflection, or listening to what the mirror has to say. She looks at herself, and knows that she is a "wonder" and a "city of a woman." She reassures herself of her importance and complexity and beauty as a woman. She is proud of her body, and the fact that any man touching it has his hands on not just any woman, but "some damn body!" Clifton was able to find the confidence to celebrate being the woman that she was. Some people might think that this is a tired, overused subject, and normally I would not disagree with this. But, honestly, there are plenty of women that have internal struggles every day with their self-image, and desperately need the same self-assurance that Clifton imparts in this poem, and she has such a way of inspiring emotion in her writing that I couldn't help but appreciate her poem.

1 comment:

  1. This is great, Hannah. I think you've summed it up nicely and looked at all the angles to this poem. Great!