American Hero by Essex Hemphill

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Griffin de Flores
English 1
American Hero by Essex Hemphill
Report by Griffin de Flores

The poem “American Hero”, a poem written by Essex Hemphill, is about a black basketball player. Hemphill uses imagery in this poem. “It’s a shimmering club light / and I’m dancing, slick in my sweat.” (5-6) this is a metaphor about the basketball, saying that it was a disco ball. “Everyone hollering / is a friend tonight.” (16-17) these two lines gives the reader a sense that these people aren’t actually his friends but saying they were very proud of him. In this section of the poem, the narrator wishes that if he ever moved onto a block that the people would cheer that he was living there instead of segregating him. I thought this was a very sad poem. One should not be judged due on what they look like but because of what is on the inside. American hero is like a basketball game mixed with dancing. Poetic devices are Metaphor "and I’m dancing, slick in my sweat." Extended metaphor comparing dancing to basketball. This poem reminds me of High School Musical because it is a movie about dancing and basketball, mixed with singing. The author reminds me of the main character in the movie. I like this poem because I play sports and I like to dance too so I can really relate to this poem. American Hero by Essex Hemphill is about a black basketball player who has nothing to lose on the night of the game. They win the game everyone loves him, but when the night is over everything goes back to normal; he is the black guy again (racism). The last 5 lines show the racism, he is depressed and feels unwanted. The theme reveals something about human nature or life in general. In this case, or in my poem, the theme is that sometimes people are appreciated for their talents and not as a person. The crowd likes the player while he is scoring points on the court, but they would not want to be his friend off the court. Sadly, discrimination is...
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