A Stone's Throw

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  • Topic: Stone, Preacher, Word
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  • Published : October 8, 2012
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A Stone’s Throw
LITERAL MEANING
A crowd has caught a woman. The persona implies to the reader that the woman is not decent. She was beautiful, but scared because she had gotten 'roughed up' a little by the crowd. The persona states that the woman has experienced men's hands on her body before, but this crowd's hands were virtuous. He also makes a proviso that if this crowd bruises her, it cannot be compared to what she has experienced before. The persona also speaks about a last assault and battery to come. He justifies this last assault by calling it justice, and it is justice that feels not only right, but good. The crowd's 'justice' is placed on hold by the interruption of a preacher, who stops to talk to the lady. He squats on the ground and writes something that the crowd cannot see. Essentially, the preacher judges them, thereby allowing the lady to also judge the crowd, leading to the crowd inevitably judging itself. The crowd walks away from the lady, still holding stones [which can be seen as a metaphor for judgments] that can be thrown another day. LITERARY DEVICES

1. SARCASM
The persona is making the point that the lady was in fact NOT decent looking. 

2. PERSONIFICATION
This device is particularly effective because the word 'kisses' is used. Kiss implies something pleasant, but it is actually utilized to emphasize something painful that has happened to the lady; she was stoned.

3. PUN
Title: The title of the poem is itself a pun on two levels. A stone's throw is used by many people in the Caribbean to describe a close distance. eg. "She lives a stone's throw away". The other use of the title is to highlight the content of the poem. It is a figurative stoning, or judging, of a woman. IRONY

The lady committed adultery and was going to be punished by the angry men for it when they were the ones contemplating raping her hence planning to commit the same thing that she has committed. 5.We shouted out

'We've got her! Here she is!
It's her all right '.
We caught her.
There she was -

1.A decent-looking woman, you'd have said,
(6.They often are)
Beautiful, but 7.dead scared,
8.Tousled - we roughed her up
A little, 9.nothing much

And not the first time
By any means
She'd felt men's hands
Greedy over her body - 
10.But ours were virtuous,
Of course.

And if our fingers bruised
Her shuddering skin,
These were love-bites, compared
To the 2.hail of kisses of stone,
The last assault
And 11.battery, frigid rape,
3.To come
12.Of right.

For justice must be done
Specially when
It 13.tastes so good.

And then - 14.this guru,
Preacher, God-merchant, God-knows-what -
Spoilt the whole thing,
Speaking to her
15.(Should never speak to them)
Squatting on the ground - her level,
Writing in the dust
Something we couldn't read.
16.And saw in her
Something we couldn't see
At least until
17.He turned his eyes on us,
Her eyes on us,
Our eyes upon ourselves.

18.We walked away
Still holding stones 
That we may throw
Another day
Given the urge.
4. ALLUSION (biblical)
The content of the poem alludes to the story of Mary Magdalene in the Bible.  John 8:5-7
New International Version (NIV)
5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

IMPORTANT WORDS/ PHRASES
5. 'we'
This immediately tells the reader that the persona is in a crowd, which highlights to us that the mob mentality exists in this context. The crowd acts as one entity. 6. 'they'
The use of this word immediately alienates the lady and places her in the scornful realm of the 'other'.  7. 'dead scared'
The use of the term 'dead' to describe the lady's emotional state of fearfulness...
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