Blackberries: Childhood

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Kanaan Morley
Professor Betty Proctor
ENGL 1302
6 February 2011
The Mythology Fruit
The poem “Blackberries” written by Yusef Komunyakaa in 1992, it had plenty of different meanings and opened your mind to a new way of thinking. In the poem the child is only ten and they are picking blackberries from the tree. While picking blackberries the child is in another world, eating and gathering blackberries to sell. When standing on the road to sell the berries a car comes by, the child soon then snaps back to reality knowing that the boy and girl are better off. In the poem it deals with loss of childhood, social class, and guilt.

At the beginning of the poem it states “at ten I’d still hold out my hands” (Komunyakaa 130). This is insisting that even before ten the child has been picking berries. The child in the poem did not have a regular childhood like the other children they saw. Instead of the child getting to play and enjoy life they stood on the side of the road selling blackberries, “repeating one dollar” (131). The last two sentences of the poem “It was then I remembered my fingers, burning with thorns among berries too ripe to touch” (131) really stood out about how the child did not experience the same child hood. After seeing the boy and the girl in the car there was jealousy, remembering that the child had to pick blackberries for a living. The child didn’t get to enjoy the luxury that the boy and girl did in the car.

The child in the poem expressed the different levels of social class. After filling the cans of berries the child explained selling berries on the side of the road as “Limboed between worlds” (131). The two different worlds are lower class and high class. The boy is in the lower class selling the berries to get by. When the car drove past they explained the air-conditioning as “wintertime crawled out of the windows” (131) indicating that the boy stood in the heat all day. When talking about the car in the poem the child...
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