The Secrets of Being You
Natasha Trethewey was born in 1966 in Gulfport, Mississippi. Her parents had an interracial marriage and at that point and time in Mississippi it was a crime to have a marriage of such. Natasha feels as if there is “White Lies” about her life in itself. In 2000, she wrote “White Lies” which describes her life as she was growing up. She writes three types of poems; Domestic Work, Bellocq Ophelia, and Native Guard. Trethewey was awarded the 2007 Pulitzer Prize. The narrator is a black child that is light enough to “pass for white.” Knowing the authors background it gives us a better insight as to what this poem could be proclaiming. Trethewey is interracially mixed so as she says, “…light-bright, near-white, high-yellow, red-boned in a black place…” she is simply referring to different races and declaring that the narrator is of the black race. In lines nine through twelve the speaker gives an effect of imagery by describing where exactly that she is referring too. These lines place the poet uptown and not in the “shanty-fied shotgun section along the tracks”. Shanty-fied shotgun section is in reference to a roughly built cabin or shack. Therefore, that can not be the nice part of town if it’s in reference to a shack by the railroad tracks. Emotions such as when the speaker is mentioning how she “..kept quiet, quiet as kept..” It’s possible she did not want any one to hear what she had to say but only as to who was around her. She was a white girl and saying; “Now we have three of us in this class” very well means that white was a minority in this class. Symbolism is a form of representing things in symbolic meanings to objects, events, or relationships. The speaker uses symbolism from where she refers to things that are white and pure. Such as, when her mother uses the soap and says, “This is to purify…cleanse your lying tongue.” The meaning of white often symbolizes purity and cleanness. In a world of doubt and dismay the color...
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