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Marissa Oxford AP Literature and Composition Ms.

Brittany Iddings Poetry Analysis Teenagers face many problems in their life, some of their problems are more complicated than others as conveyed by Audre Lorde's poem, Hanging Fire. In Lorde's poem, a teenage girl contemplates her appearance, her place in life and other common thoughts of a teen as well as wondering about death and her more embarrassing problems. There is a balance as Lorde uses simple words in prose format to convey the point of view of a teenage girl, and the repetition of the phrase, And Momma's in the bedroom with the door closed, to represent the girl's less trivial problems. The author uses simple words rather than flaunting a large vocabulary because if she had used larger words the poem would have been that much harder to understand but readers of a less extensive vocabulary. This audience in general would include teenagers, who prefer simple wording. It is in this way the poem is able to mimic a teenager's thoughts as well as appealing to the target audience. The over-exaggeration of several lines also add to the fourteen year old girl persona. For example, the boy I cannot live without, my knees are always so ashy, Suppose I die... and Nobody ever stops to think about my side of it, are common phrases uttered by fourteen year old girls, giving the poem a stereotypical realism. Another way that adds to this form of realism besides the words within the poem is the way this poem is written. The entire poem is in prose form. It is full of run-on sentences that do not rhyme and some of the subjects within the same sentences have no correlation at all. Through this format, the author directly achieves the nervous, disjointed thoughts of the fourteen year old. One moment she is hating on her looks, then she's thinking about death. Another moment she's thinking about the dance then she's thinking about death. Then she's thinking about her failure to advance in life along with jealousy, then her appearance, then the dance, then once again circles to her impending death thought being careful to use only if I die... Suppose I die... and will I live long enough to... Her caution in avoiding when

I die... or I will die... prove she is not depressed, she is merely upset with her life at the moment. A typical drama involved fourteen year old's feelings. However, of the more trivial problems she discussed, there was one that ended each thought at the end of each stanza. And momma's in the bedroom with the door closed, the line that is repeated over and over again. One could take it literally, her mother spends too much time in her bedroom, which could result in several possibilities. Her mother could be sleeping with another man or a prostitute. Her mother could be locked up in her room drinking. Or her mother could be hiding in her bedroom crying over one of the girl's siblings who may have died. One could also take it figuratively. It could just be a symbol of neglect, her mother will not give her the care that she needs, her mother has withdrawn. Or it could represent the barrier between them as mother and daughter no longer understand one another and the mother will not listen to her daughter, supported by the thought, nobody stops to think about my side of it. It could even be a combination of the two types of meanings. It's clearly an important matter that resonates within the teenager's thoughts, an important detail made blatantly clear by the continuous repetition. It is a detail some of the audience may even sympathize with making the poem more significant as a whole. Altogether, it the words, the format, and the repetition that puts everything on a scale to see how it all balances out while giving the reader a chance to peer into the mind and thought processes of a fourteen-year-old girl with different problems. Lorde has created a significantly accurate depiction of a fourteen-year-old, one to which some readers may relate. All in all it signifies the importance of creating a format and wording for one's poem that matches the subject and content to truly create a lasting impression upon the reader.