"Homage to My Hips" Poem Analysis

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English 1102
9 September 2011

Thesis: Clifton declares that she will not abide by the rules society has created for her physically, ethnically, or sexually.

I. Physically
a. Big
b. Need space
c. Doesn’t fit into petty places
II. Ethnically
a. Enslaved
b. Go/do what they want
c. Free/ don’t like to be held back
III. Sexually
a. Mighty
b. Magic
c. Spell/spin

Lucille Clifton is an American writer and poet. Her poem, “Homage to my Hips,” is one of her many poems that discussed issues in society. This poem discusses Clifton’s hips, and how they are free from the certain views of society that she does not agree on as well as how she is proud of her “hips” and respects herself regardless. She uses word choice and personification to describe ways her hips stand for what she believes in. Clifton declares that she will not abide by the rules society has created for her physically, ethnically, or sexually. In the first few lines of her poem, Clifton rebels against the views of physical beauty made by society. She says, “these hips are big hips,” and by doing so says that she is not the image of perfection yet she is still proud of herself (1). She will not be ashamed of how she looks just because at the time society expected women to look a certain way, that way being thin. She goes on to say that “they need space/to move around in” (2, 3). Here, space physical and emotional space. Meaning, she not only is larger than the ideal “American” woman, but she also has big emotions. Clifton says her hips won’t “fit into little/petty places” (4, 5). When she says this, she means will not conform to the small ideas of man. She ignores the narrow-mindedness of society and still stands tall and proud, no matter the size of her hips. Clifton takes a stand for her ethnicity in the next lines of her poem. When she says “these hips/are free hips/they don’t like to be held back,” she is making a point that even though she is an...
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