American Eulogies To The Old Term Paper

Length: 6 pages Sources: 1+ Subject: Literature Type: Term Paper Paper: #15024290 Related Topics: Sonnets, Interracial Relationships, South American, American Literature
Excerpt from Term Paper :

Nelson's violent images call upon the reader to behold the corpse of Till, forcing the reader into a state of seismic cultural shock, as America has long been eager to forget its racist legacy (Harold, 2006, p.263). Trethewey's first lines of her book are gentler, but there is always the urge to remember: "Truth be told, I do not want to forget anything of my former life" (Trethewey, p.1)

The calls her poetic collection an act of memory "Erasure, those things that get left out of the landscape of the physical landscape, things that aren't monumented or memorialized, and how we remember and what it is that we forget. I wanted to kind of restore some of those narratives, so those things that are less remembered (Brown, 2007). Her use of the sonnet form over her cycle of poems is not as perfectly consistent as Nelson's, but repetition and remembrance motivate her to use sonnets, pantoons, and other repetitive forms to encapsulate her poetic project's purpose. Her choice of verse is slightly less formalized and less in the Elizabethan tradition than Nelson's, and also harkens to recent uses of verse, as does her choice of allusions and vocabulary.

Trethewey still calls upon the ghosts not only of her literary progenitors, but also her mother and her native Mississippi, one of the most brutally racist states in the nation. Like Nelson, she too uses a system of interlocked sonnets, the last line of each one becoming the first line of the next, as she writes of Union soldiers who "keep / white men as prisoners -- rebel soldiers, / would-be masters" (Trethewey, 2006, p.27). A more recently-evolved rhythmic poetic form than the sonnet in the form of a poetic pantoun remembers the night Trethewey's family discovered a burning cross on her lawn. And finally she reflects upon "Mississippi, state that made a crime/of me -- mulatto, half-breed, native -- / in my native land, this place they'll bury me (Trethewey, 2006, p.46). Once criminal to be born, yet Southern still, like her mother's body finds a home in the earth: "At my mother's...


46). The blister began as a child for Trethewey herself when the poet "overheard things in the Woolworths when I was a child, people saying, "Oh, poor, little thing," as if they had some understanding that I was being born biracial into a world that was still very difficult for interracial marriages and biracial children" (Brown, 2007). Difficult, but not a world she desires necessarily to flee.

Past and present are connected in both texts. Nelson's text is a text of anger at the present and sorrow, however, as well as commemoration for a specific dead figure who becomes a saint and martyr for a movement and for the poet. It is meant to make the reader confront history and move the reader to action. Trethewey's homage to her family and to anonymous soldiers is gentler, but like the ants it still has a sting, as the reader comes to appreciate how deep the legacy of racism lies within the South specifically, and how many powerful memories have been hidden by a history that is only half a story. And the act of two American women claiming the male, European tradition of sonnets is also profound, as it shows the potential of verse to be relevant today, provided it is reconfigured to address contemporary concerns of identity politics.

Works Cited

Black Soldiers in Blue: African-American Troops in the Civil War Era. Edited by John

David Smith. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.

Brown, Jeffery. "Pulitzer Prize Winner Trethewey Discusses Poetry Collection."

Transcript of Online New Hour. 25 Apr 2007. 6 Jun 2007.

Harold, Christine & Kevin M. DeLuca, "Behold the Corpse: Violent Images and the Case of Emmett Till." Rhetoric & Public Affairs. 8.2. 2005. 263-286

Nelson, Marilyn. A Wreath for Emmett Till. Houghton Mifflin, 2005.

Pinkney, Andrea Davis "Marilyn Nelson: Author Program, in-depth Interview."

Transcript of an audio interview. w 6 Jun 2007.

Natasha Trethewey: Biography." Houghton Mifflin. 2007. 6 Jun 2007.

Rushdy, Ashraf. "Exquisite Corpse" Transition. 9.3. 2000. 70-77

Schneider, Dan. "A Review of a Wreath for Emmett Till -- Sonnets to Honor a Young

Martyr." Dean Children's Book. 5 Jun 2007.

Shipers, Carrie. "Review of Natasha Trethewey's Native Guard." Prairie Schooner. 80.4

2006. 199-200.

Trethewey, Natasha. Native Guard. New York: Houghton Mifflin.…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Black Soldiers in Blue: African-American Troops in the Civil War Era. Edited by John

David Smith. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.

Brown, Jeffery. "Pulitzer Prize Winner Trethewey Discusses Poetry Collection."

Transcript of Online New Hour. 25 Apr 2007. 6 Jun 2007.
Transcript of an audio interview. w 6 Jun 2007.
Natasha Trethewey: Biography." Houghton Mifflin. 2007. 6 Jun 2007.
Martyr." Dean Children's Book. 5 Jun 2007.

Cite this Document:

"American Eulogies To The Old" (2007, June 06) Retrieved June 27, 2022, from

"American Eulogies To The Old" 06 June 2007. Web.27 June. 2022. <>

"American Eulogies To The Old", 06 June 2007, Accessed.27 June. 2022,

Related Documents
John Quincy Adams
Words: 1878 Length: 5 Pages Topic: American History Paper #: 10757173

President of the United States. Specifically it will discuss the life of President John Quincy Adams. The sixth President of the United States, John Quincy Adams was the first son of a former president Americans elected to the office. Historians do not see him as one of America's most outstanding presidents -- he faced adversaries and controversy while he served in office. However, looking back, he was a remarkable

Crazy Horse and the Western Hero
Words: 2842 Length: 6 Pages Topic: Native Americans Paper #: 26693316

Crazy Horse and the Western Hero Crazy Horse, believed born sometime in 1838, was a respected member of the Oglala Sioux Native American tribe and is noted for his courage in battle. He was recognized among his own people as a visionary leader committed to preserving the traditions and values of the Lakota way of life and leading his people into a war against the take-over of their lands by the

Speech Analysis of "I Have
Words: 765 Length: 2 Pages Topic: Black Studies Paper #: 18693186

King's introduction is blunt: "One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition. In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of

Capturing the Anguish and Agony Which Consumes
Words: 1403 Length: 5 Pages Topic: Healthcare Paper #: 1347581

Capturing the anguish and agony which consumes those caring for loved ones at the end of life is an exceedingly difficult task, but essayists Katy Butler and Rachel Riederer have harnessed their unique literary abilities in vastly different ways to achieve the same ambitious objective. Published within the 2011 edition of the annual anthology of American creative nonfiction The Best American Essays, Butler's haunting elegy What Broke My Mother's Heart

Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, Artists
Words: 1563 Length: 4 Pages Topic: Art  (general) Paper #: 24262307

These different elements are used to provide balance, scale and proportion through illustrating the natural movements / actions that are taking place. Repetition, variety, rhythm and unity are demonstrated based upon the way the image is represented and how it changes as it moves further away from the subject. ("John Biglin in a Small Skull") From a historical context, this is showing the traditions the elite are continuing to embrace

Samurai and Magnificient Seven Kurosawa's
Words: 2199 Length: 8 Pages Topic: Film Paper #: 16372992

One can almost consider that American filmmaking contains fixed ideas where Japanese motion pictures produced by Kurosawa are the result of complex concepts coming from a series of cultures being brought together. In spite of the fact that Kurosawa's film goes against some of the most respected Japanese values during the 1950s, it is nonetheless related to the general context involving Japan. It follows Japanese film-making rules in an attempt