Thursday, January 18, 2007

Suicide Note

Before getting into Dogeaters, I wanted to post a little something about the poem "Suicide Note" that we looked at on Tuesday. I love to analyze text, I'm really geeky like that. Actually, before I delve into that, I want to quote Prof. Jha:

"I have a PhD, I can make up words!"

Suicide Note. An appropriate alternate title could be Apology- she apologizes directly to her parents twice, and indirectly at the end: "Notes shredded/drift like snow/on my broken body,/covers me like whispers/of sorries/sorries."
In the beginning, she apologizes for not being good enough, even though she has worked very hard. The interjected "not good enough not strong enough not smart enough" seems to echo through the poem as her thoughts may echo through her head. The fact that it is not capitalized and contains no other punctuation reinforces the idea that it has sprung unbidden into the text. I also noted that when the line is broken up, she not only says what she is not, but also what she is.
"...fragile as wings.
not strong enough"
The contrast between fragile and strong is repeated again in the next stanza:
"...sillied and dizzied by the wind/on the edge.
not smart enough"
She is fragile and sillied, not strong and smart. She seems to believe this is solely because she is a woman. For if she had been born a male, she would "swagger through life/muscled and bold and assured,/drawing praises..."
She also draws equals between being born a son, and light. Perhaps this is a play on the word "sun", for she says: "If only I were a son, shoulders broad/as the sunset threading through pine,/I would see the light in my mother's/eyes, or the golden pride reflected/in my father's dream..."
Sunset, light, golden, reflected. All shining, glorious, beautiful words. Like she would be, had she been born a "sun."
The other main theme she repeats is the metaphor of her environment as a landscape of snow and ice, and her as a small bird. She is unable to survive, swallowed up by the cold, bitter white snow. Depicting her landscape in this way is a metaphor for her actual world, where she is surrounded by confident, uncaring white people who do not support her- instead they push her over the edge.
"This air will not hold me,/the snow burdens my crippled wings..."
" smeared like birdprints in snow."
" above my river."
"It is snowing steadily...
"Choices thin as shaved/ice. Notes shredded/drift like snow..."
"...white and cold and silent...."

Everything she struggles to achieve is undermined, brushed away, it is impermanent. And thus she is driven to take her own life.

Also, I have no idea what kind of significance it could possibly hold, but I enjoyed this alliteration: "...they will bury/my bird bones beneath/a sturdy pine..."


jana_banana said...

"Also, I have no idea what kind of significance it could possibly hold, but I enjoyed this alliteration: "...they will bury/my bird bones beneath/a sturdy pine..."

The strong "B" sound is a strong yet harsh sound. Perhaps, this sound is a metaphor for the constant and repetitive struggles/pressures that she has to endure because of her ethnicity and culture. The sharp sound immediately provokes an image in my head of a sword continuously stabbing into a body. Such a harsh sound, am I right?

Also, this sound creates a feeling of insecurity. It imitates a stutter. It can even symbolize a heart beat. Lastly, the sound resembles gasps for air. This would be very fitting if it was intentional.

But then again, maybe I am analyzing it too deep? I love to analyze text too (I am a nerd too so don't worry you aren't alone) ^_^

By the way, great analysis!

Anonymous said...

Great work.