Response to Ap-Style Prompt on Meena Alexander's "Fault Lines"

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Alexander uses various aspects of the language to represent herself, "a woman cracked by multiple migrations." The diction, imagery, and figurative terms that Alexander utilizes create a clear picture for the reader of a woman who is questioning her life and what might have been. There is an extended metaphor that runs throughout the piece that compares Alexander to something fragile and cracked. Words like "splintered", "shards" and "fractured" imply glass and all of its frailty. She sees herself as a mass of distinct pieces,"a mass of faults,"that cannot succeed in coming together, "fluid and whole" to complete her as a satisfied person. In opposition to this "glass diction," Alexander uses another metaphor that compares herself with a beautiful flower. This is the life that lives only in her memories and dreams, the life of a "dutiful wife ... blooming in du season ... in a sweet perpetual place." The juxtaposition of these two metaphors accentuate the painful distinctions between Alexander's realized life, one of brokenness and disunity and her imagined life, one of happiness and peace. But , she soon points out that even this "good" life is "filled with ghosts" for it would have meant not having freedom; it would have been a "choke held." Thus, these metaphors and the diction that brings them to life illustrate conflicting feelings within Alexander. On the one hand, she is dissatisfied with her present life and feels separated from her roots and culture, on the other one, she knows that if she had stayed in India, she would have been unhappy for different reasons and always longed for independence. The image that Alexander presents of "mango trees fruit[ing] in the rough asphalt of upper Broadway" accurately illustrates her conflict. The blossoming tree represents the life that would have been here in India and the asphalt of upper Broadway her present home. The almost impossibility of this event - a tropical tree flourishing in the middle of...
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