"The Whipping," by Robert Hayden
This poem is about Hayden who hears a boy being beaten, recalls his childhood when he too was subjected to the same and notices that this form of punishment has been handed down from generation to generation. He uses visual and auditory imagery together to take the reader to different moments in time, where the same event is being played over and is put in six quatrains to add emphasis. In the first quatrain, Hayden hears a woman "shouting to the neighborhood her goodness and the boy's wrongs" and Hayden knows that the boy across the way is getting beat again. This gives the image of a woman yelling so loudly that everyone in the complex can hear her tell the boy that she raised him better than his bad deed. In the second quatrain Hayden adds sound to the image when the boy "wildly crashes through the elephant ears." Besides Hayden creating the picture of the child running in fear, the racket that is made when he hits the large leaves contributes to the impact of the scene. Another image that is given in this same quatrain is the description of the woman's "crippling fat." In the third quatrain visual and sound are once again employed by Hayden. That woman "strikes and strikes the shrilly circling boy" is another vivid image with sound where one can hear and see this boy, now caught, screaming and running around the woman, who repeatedly hits him. At this point the author makes a transition to his own memory of having been whipped as a child and continues with the same type of visuals and sounds. And in the end Hayden Stewart 2
concludes in the present time with more visuals and audibles of the woman "muttering against / a tree, exhausted, purged." This closing scene allows the reader to see and hear the woman worn out and mumbling about her past as a child, where she too was whipped for her ill doings. "Daystar," by Rita Dove
This poem is about a stay at home mother who uses nature and her imagination to escape...
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