Andre Lorde "Beams" Explication Essay

Pages: 5 (1423 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature

SAMPLE EXCERPT . . .
The second section of the poem continues this sense of desire for the aliveness of spring. " Whenever spring comes I wish to burn / to ride the flood like a zebra goaded / shaken with sun " ( lines 25 -- 27)

The use of the word "burn" and images of nature, flood and sun, all contribute to the sense of exuberance and a natural zest for life. There is also a sense of regret and even despair which is suggested by the word "wish"; as if the protagonist can no longer so these things. It should also be mentioned that the use of African images may also refer to the poet's heritage and origins, which would suggest a deeper and less personal interpretation of the poem.

The sense of regret and loss is accentuated by images and word usage throughout this section. For example, the following lines clearly suggest loss and desire for what has gone. " and desire for what is gone / sealed into hunger ... " ( lines 30 and 31)

The desire for the past has become a deep-seated inner hunger for something that can no longer be attained. This hunger is described by the simile in line 31, "like an abandoned mine."

The image presented here offers a powerful sense of desolation and loss. It is also an image that is to be repeated later in the poem.

The poem continues to reveal more insight into the nature and cause of this sense of loss. There is blame and self-recrimination in the following lines about something that has taken place in the past. " I lay rigid with denials / the clarity of frost without / the pain of coldness " ( Lines 33 -- 35)

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This sense of pain and loss is cleverly emphasized by the metaphor of frost and cold; where the protagonist is shown to be sharply and intensely aware of the factors that have influenced her in the past. The lines, " autumn's sharp precisions and yet / for the green to stay." ( lines 36 and 36) again refer to decisions or choices that had been made and, at the same time, they refer to desire for the "green" or the sense of life and youth to remain.

Essay on Andre Lorde "Beams" Explication in Assignment

The rest of this section refers to obscure images of African women, possibly hinting at work or duties that had to be accomplished - and which at the same time caused the protagonist to lose her innocent sense of youthful life. This in empathized by the image of the Spartan women warriors - Dahomean Amazons- and to images of loss of innocence and the introduction of fear into her life. "I am scared and naked / as a strip-mined hill in West Virginia." ( lines 41 and 42)

The repetition of the mining metaphor again highlights a sense of desolation and loss that pervades the poem.

The last stanza stresses her life's activities and accomplishment and reviews her contributions. She sees herself still in terms of isolation. "one woman harvesting all I have ever been." (Line 51)

The last few lines are an attempt to make peace with the reality of fading life and energy. " only the peace we make with it / shift into seasons." ( lines 56 and 57)

However, the last few lines state clearly and sadly that there in no avoiding the natural outcome of life.

wind come round again seizing us in her arms like a warrior lover or bowing us into shapes we have avoided for years

( lines 59 -62)

While we try to avoid the reality of age and the loss of vibrant youth, these lines point out that eventuality we have to confront this reality. The last two lines point to the fact that we often forget our mortality and, sadly, have to turn and face the reality. " as we turn / we forget what is not possible." ( lines 63 and 64)

The poem is a well structured expression of a sense of loss of innocence and youth and the realization that the coming old age is an inexorable fact. What makes this poem complex is that there are hints at dark choices -- beams --… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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