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Power by Audre Lorde

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Delainie Gonsoir

3 April 2016

Wine RR3

Reader’s Response #3

“Power”, by Audre Lorde, is an intense poem written about the extreme difference between black and white people. The use of poetry, imagery and word choice to describe how a young black child’s death was buried is filled with frustration and disgust regarding injustice. Lorde uses extreme imagery that gives a whole new perspective; while using unrelenting and horrific language that proves inequality unfairness. The main idea and theme I investigated within this text was the correlation between Pound’s ideas and things not to do and how to do them, and how Lorde as if takes into account what Pound says and uses it in her own writing to make a incredible piece of literature. The theme of Lorde’s poem reveals quite a bit about how racism today and police brutality is still extremely pertinent and harmful, and how it doesn’t matter if the United States has been through years of fighting for equality and racism these issues are still at large and don’t seem to be changing anytime soon.

The images that Lorde uses in her poetry explains quite a bit. In her poem she writes, There was one black woman on the jury, and with the way that Lorde writes about her is essential to the purpose of the poem; “…and one black woman who said, ‘they convinced me’ meaning they had dragged her 4’10” black woman’s frame over the hot coals of four centuries of white male approval until she let go…”  (Lines 35-39) This image could not be more accurate on point as to what point Lorde is trying to get across. Although this poem was written some time ago, the poem is still relatable today. People are still fighting for equality and the same respect people give the white race. After so many years of this one would think there would be an end. The past few years have been especially tough with white people and white police brutality to black people. It is constantly all over the news and argued over. A recent study by CNN found that unarmed black people were killed at 5X the rate of unarmed whites in 2015. Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin are just two.  Lorde uses many images to explain the blood and gunshot wounds. “I am trapped on a desert of raw gunshot wounds and a dead child and a desert of raw gunshot wounds” (Line 15) where the only thing the speaker can see is that of the dead child’s blood. With this imagery, she is using the desert as a symbol that represents the white race , and the child’s blood and skin color is all that can be seen.[CK5]  She writes, “… thirsting for the wetness of his blood as it sinks in the whiteness of the desert…” (Lines 14-15).

These images are powerful; The purpose of the poem is to show the inequality and hatred that white people have about black people. These specific parts of the poem are what makes the poem an experience, not just a “story”. This means that the child’s blood, represents what happened to the child is being buried by the desert; being white people. Lorde uses deep imagery to express the cruel ways of the justice system. Another powerful aspect of Lorde’s writing was the way she compares to things and saying it in an amazing way. She writes, “trying to heal my dying son with kisses only the sun will bleach his bones quicker.” (Lines 19-20) Her idea of imagery is complex and “presents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time” Lines 1-2) And all she was meaning to say was that she is trying to bring back her son to life but the sun will turn him into just bones quicker. All of Lorde’s sentences are filled with visuals that are impeccable. Lorde writes the rest of the poem, where he is sent to trial and he speaks on the tape; saying, “Die you little motherfucker” (Line 23). Lorde expresses about that even with the tapes, at the trial the policeman said, “I didn’t notice the size nor nothing else, only the color…” (Lines 26-27) She then writes that the policeman was set free by white men who said they were “satisfied that justice had been done…” (Lines 32-33) This stanza exhibits an image that is hard to forget once you’ve thought of it. Another vivid choice of words, “and one day I will take my teenaged plug and connect it to the nearest socket raping an 85-year-old white woman who is somebody’s mother…” (lines 49-55) This proves that if that was done to a white person’s mother, it would be broadcasted and exploited everywhere, and justice would surely be served. She writes that people would say, “Poor thing. She never hurt a soul. What beasts they are.” (Line 55). But the young child is a life as well, why does the color of his skin change? We see innocent black people being beaten with police brutality but do we see white people being gunned down?



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