MONOLOGUE FOR AN ONION: AN ANALYSIS
Cutting an onion breaks cells in its skin causing a reaction that results to the formation of volatile sulfur compound which, when mixed with tears coating our eyes, becomes sulfuric acid. This triggers the tear ducts to produce more tears to alleviate the imbalance in acidity the irritant has caused; the longer the eyes are exposed to the acid the greater the quantity of tears produced. Sue Kwock Kim uses this certain property of an onion to tackle a specific human idiosyncrasy. Monologue for an Onion discusses how humans have the tendency to lie to themselves in pursuit of false hopes through dramatic situation, tone, and symbol.
The poem opens with the onion voicing out its thoughts as the person peels away its skin. As the poem progresses, more and more layers are removed in the person’s pursuit to find the heart of the onion. In stanza three, it becomes evident that the onion has no heart because it is “…pure onion—pure union of outside and in, surface and secret core.” But despite this, it is seen that the person continues to subject his eyes to the acidic fumes emanating from the peels in hopes of finding what is obviously absent. As the person persistently peels away the onion’s skin, the onion continues to utter words of warning to the person: it is pointless to continue stripping the onion off its covering when all that can be attained in the end are tears and “…onion-juice, yellow peels, [and] (my) stinging shreds”; the wasted effort and the person’s refusal to concede to the truth angers the onion.
For most of the poem, the feelings of annoyance and anger dominate the scene. But in the first six lines of the poem, the talking onion pities the person for he is deluded into thinking that it has a heart. But in the proceeding lines, the negative feelings start to bubble to the surface. These feelings were first introduced in the tenth line: “Look at you, chopping and weeping. Idiot.” Here, we see that the...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document