Critical Analysis of Kindness -Naomi Shihab Nye

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s): 1691
  • Published: July 17, 2011
Read full document
Text Preview
Anna Speed

Honors 9th Grade Literature

March 2, 2011


Kindness Critical Analysis



            -Naomi Shihab Nye


Before you know what kindness really is

You must lose things,

Feel the future dissolve in a moment

Like salt in a weakened broth.

What you held in your hand,

What you counted and carefully saved,

All this must go so you know

How desolate the landscape can be

Between the regions of kindness.

How you ride and ride

Thinking the bus will never stop,

The passengers eating maize and chicken

Will stare out the window forever.


Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,

You must travel where the Indian in a white poncho

Lies dead by the side of the road.

You must see how this could be you,

How he too was someone

Who journeyed through the night with plans

And the simple breath that kept him  alive.


Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,

You must know sorry as the other deepest thing.

You must wake up with sorrow.

You must speak to it till your voice

Catches the thread of all sorrows

And you see the size of the cloth.


Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,

Only kindness that ties your shoes

And sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,

Only kindness that raises its head

From the crowd of the world to say

It is I you have been looking for,

And then goes with you everywhere

Like a shadow or a friend.



Do you know what kindness really is? The poem “Kindness”, by Naomi Shihab Nye, is a deep and meaningful poem that uses personification, free verse rhythm, simile, and alliteration to bring out the message that society does not fully understand kindness until one looses something, and this can be seen throughout American history as well. Critics Pamela Steed Hill and Anna Maria Hong give their opinions on Nye’s work....
tracking img