Nuances of the Senses: A Deeper Perception into Imagery

Topics: Black people, Miscegenation Pages: 4 (1079 words) Published: April 1, 2014
Nuances of the Senses: A Deeper Perception into Imagery
In the two poems “I Am a Black Woman” by Mari Evans and “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke, the authors use the strong poetic device of imagery to bring their words to life. In two very distinct styles and meaning, Evans vividly depicts the struggles of “black” women, while Roethke uses his diction to show the emotional skirmish and dance between a boy and his father.

Evans begins “I Am a Black Woman” by appealing to the auditory sense in order to express a beautiful song both literally and figuratively: I am a Black woman
the music of my song
some sweet arpeggio of tears
is written in a minor key (1-4).
The reader can hear the sadness in the sweet tune with the description of the tears and “minor key” (4). The song seems to tell of the turmoil and internal conflict of being an African American woman that goes unnoticed to society. She further states that she “can be heard humming in the night” (6). The reader can hear her humming and at the same time, can envision the absolute silence she’s portraying of being alone. Evans repeats that line twice in order to stress its importance; although she may be alone, she’s still a strong, independent woman. Humming signifies tranquility and peacefulness during rough times and as a black woman she had to remain calm and hold the family together.

Evans makes a visual connection by telling “I lost Nat’s swinging body in a rain of tears” (13). The reader can imagine a lifeless body hanging from a tree, the people crying tremendously, mourning the loss of Nat Turner. His death is influential to her because she mentions him by name and gives the detail of his body swinging, indicating that his passing is still fresh and has lasting affects. She eloquently puts into words her own son’s passing and highlights the military base of Da Nang and the battle of Pork Chop Hill to signify the many black men who...

Cited: Evans, Mari. “I Am a Black Woman.” Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. Ed.
Edgar V. Roberts. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc., 2012. 642. Print.
Roethke,Theodore. “My Papa’s Waltz.” Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. Ed.
Edgar V. Roberts. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc., 2012. 642. Print.
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