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White Lies Essay by Natasha Trethewey

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White Lies Essay by Natasha Trethewey

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  • December 2010
  • 365 Words
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In the poem “White Lies” by Natasha Trethewey I felt like this poem represents imagism because it mentions six different colors all describing lies. It’s about an African American girl that may tell little lies that don’t really mean much. She lies about where she lives, where she brought her clothes, and would also lie about being African American. When she lies about her skin color in the line, “I could even keep quiet, quiet as kept, like the time a white girl said (squeezing my hand), Now we have three of us in this class.” It’s sad because she is not lying to act cool. When she writes “squeezing my hand,” I sensed that she only lied because she liked the way the girl was acting like her friend. The first stanza does a really good job in explaining why this poem would fit in the imagery category because it describes that she is really light skinned for an African American. It states, “I was growing up/light-bright, near-white, high-yellow, red-boned in a black place.” The words “light-bright” and “near-white” make you think of a very light color. I also got the double meaning with the color white. White is connected throughout the poem to lies, at the end of the poem it is connected to soap that will purify or cleanse someone. She writes, “She laid her hands on me, then washed out my mouth with Ivory soap. This is to purify, she said, and cleanse your lying tongue.” Theses few lines make you think that she’s trying to describe white as the right thing. The author does this again in the second stanza when she writes, “I could act like my homemade dresses come straight out of the window at Maison Blanche.” This line makes me think that dresses from the White House are better than others. I think the overall message of this little girl is that she used to think that white was better than black. Clothes were better from the white house, minds are more pure with white soap, and lies that are only white are very pretty.