Essay on Poems

Published: 2021/11/24
Number of words: 688

The Heart of a Woman poem by Georgia Douglas Johnson gives a description of the freedom that women crave but they are imprisoned in their shelters. The first stanza describes the freedom that a woman gets at dawn and flies from home while the second stanza the woman is forced to see her world’s reality as she returns in her “alien cage”. The freedom described in the first stanza as the woman’s heart takes flight is not physical but only happens within the heart of a woman. The second line compares the woman’s heart to a “lone bird” that is “soft winging” but its movement is restless indicating that the woman’s freedom is getting more depressing and dangerous. The metaphor used for a woman’s soul, freedom and heart is the bird flying past the life’s “vales” and “turrets”. The last line in the first stanza shows a bird experiencing an echo or a feeling that is pervading of home and when the bird representing the woman is experiencing freedom, it calls home. As it gets dark, the woman is blocked from the world and her freedom ends as the bird enters an “alien cage” and gets trapped again. To make imprisonment bearable, the woman blocks the world’s beauty by trying to forget and even if the bars are unbearable she keeps banging endlessly and ceaselessly. The woman has no hope about ever getting out but the provided “shelter” is unwanted.

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According to Wangeng Cui on The Heart of a Woman, the women in that period had no freedom because the poet shows that they would get out at dawn and return at night because they had no choice. Even if the women at the period enjoyed what they experienced while exploring their dreams which the poet represents with stars, eventually they had to crush them in their hearts because they lacked options. The poet surely sympathizes with women because the second line shows that women would try to free from their homes at dawn like lone birds. The wings on the bird are soft and the movement restless. The second line of the poem shows that the woman’s freedom is not enjoyable but dangerous and depressing. It is true that the tone in the poem is sad and the audience is lead to pity the woman who is represented by a bird according to the poet.

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According to Alexandra Garcia about From The Dark Tower poem by Countee Cullen the speaker in the poem is a black person in the Harlem Renaissance period. The speaker is certainly a black person because the first line of the first line shows that the poem is about black people and how they will one day overcome oppression as well as racism. The line is in plural “We shall not always plant while others reap” to show that the speaker is part of the black people that the poet writes about. The poem is clearly about the black people’s oppression and slavery because the poem is about blacks not being able to reap what they plant. The type of forced labor in slavery periods was agricultural where blacks were forced to offer labor in plantation fields belonging to their enslavers who would “reap” what they planted in labor. The speaker uses a hopeful tone and confident that the situation will change as he starts the poem by asserting that the black people “shall not always” be undermined and mistreated. The speaker is hopeful that one day the black people will enjoy ‘the golden increment of bursting fruit” as a way of saying that the people in slavery will one day benefit from the plants growth that they have labored for.

Works cited

Countee Cullen and Gerald Lyn Early. My Soul’s High Song : The Collected Writings of Countee Cullen, Voice of the Harlem Renaissance. Anchor Books, 1991.

Georgia Douglas Johnson. The Heart of a Woman, and Other Poems,. Leopold Classic Library, Middletown, De, 2018.

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