In Li-Young Lee’s, “I Ask My Mother to Sing,” four main stanzas are found; they are
elaborated with memory, joyfulness, grief, and pleasant remembrances. The speaker
implies tones of nostalgia as he remembers his father. The title “I Ask My Mother to
Sing” is clearly a song that the speaker begs for his mother to sing and the happiness of
that songs also make the speaker’s grandmother to sing along. The most important part is
what the song is about, this is implied throughout the entire poem in detail.
The first stanza is about what happens when he asks his mother to sing for him; it shows
two different generations that were born in China. The speaker also mentions his father;
he conveys that he wishes his father would be sharing that moment when his mother and
grandmother were singing. In a way he feels, like he wants all his family to be together
again and share quality time with his family.
The second stanza is referring to places that allows the reader to become aware that the
speaker is talking about China; he mentions all this different places that are China’s
icons, where the speaker has never been in, but he wishes he could have been to all this
places were once his parents lived or visited.
The third stanza, line 9 says “But I love to hear sung”, it means that although the speaker
has never been in the land of his ancestors; he loves to hear it through songs. This
expression makes the nostalgia the speaker feels so special, because the speaker is not
really yearning something from his past ; nor places he has been before; he just feels like
is something that is in his blood ; which is his Chinese backgrounds. This stanza is really
special, because it entertains the reader it makes us move and hear the waterlilies “They
overturn, spilling water into water, then rock back; and fill out with more”. Therefore this