Persona is defined as the narrator of or a character in a literary work, sometimes identified with the author. Persona poems are written in the first person as if the author is to be perceived as the character in the poem. Three poems that have persona as a theme are "Countess P's Advice for New Girls" by Natasha Tretheway, "Negro Hero" by Gwendolyn Brooks and "Skinhead" by Patricia Smith. These poems are about different types of people but all use the same theme, that theme being the use of persona by the author.
In "Countess P's Advice for New Girls" by Natasha Tretheway from the book Bellocq's Ophelia, the author characterizes herself as a whore named Ophelia who works in a whorehouse in Storyville, New Orleans. In the poem, Countess P. was the madam of the whorehouse in which Ophelia worked and was explaining to her how to act around the men that would come to use the service provided. It contains 7 stanzas that were made up of tercets and each line was approximately 10 syllables. The author uses literary elements such as similes and important line breaks to catch the attention of the reader and make it seem like she really is the character in the poem. Among the poems we read using this theme, this poem had a quiet, subtle and calm tone.
The tone in the poem, "Skinhead" by Patricia Smith coming out of her book titled Big Town Big Talk, is a lot more violent and intense than that of the first poem. The author of this poem is an African American female but transforms herself into a white male skinhead in this poem. In this poem the man who is perceived as a skinhead has almost a biblical feeling when he describes why he is doing what he does. He feels that his bigotry and racial superiority has some kind of elegance, which he turns into rage. He compares himself o Hitler but without all the power. He believes his destiny is to "make things right" this includes when he beats the people that disgust him including African Americans and gays, which...
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