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"In the inner city" by Lucille Clifton

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by Alex Hurst on 24 March 2011

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Transcript of "In the inner city" by Lucille Clifton

"InThe Inner City" Is a poem Written BY Lucille Clifton THIS IS HER She was born in
Depew, New York
on June 27, 1936 Throughout her writings there are several
themes that can be seen..... However two of the most prominent themes were PRIDE & WOMENS RIGHTS In the poem "In The Inner City" she writes about being proud and about being strong WAIT!! Before I go on about the poem.... It would help if you knew what it said So.....Here it is SWAG In the inner city
or
like we call it
home
we think a lot about uptown
and the silent nights
and the houses straight as
dead men
and the pastel lights
and we hang on to our no place
happy to be alive
and in the inner city
or
like we call it
home Here, she delt with the trials and tribulations of being a young black woman. Growing up she had to endure the racist attitudes of many... This didnt stop her, her family was supportive and she had everything she needed to pursue her eduaction. Also, as a child she was sexually abused. But grew up in Buffalo, New York Despite her childhood, "she attended Howard University from 1953 to 1955 and graduated from Fredonia State Teachers College (now State University of New York College at Fredonia) in 1955." (Britannica) Then, "in 1969 her first book, a collection of poetry titled Good Times, was published." (Britannica) Her first book inspired her to continue writing, She went on and produced several other collections... Which included: -Next: New Poems (1987) -Quilting: Poems 1987-1990 (1991) -The Terrible Stories (1996) -Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems, 1988-2000 (2000) -Mercy (2004) Which is right here And this is what it looks like Now that you know what it says, what is the first thing you notice when you read this poem? On the surface, before you begin to break it down and dig deep into what it truely represents you can see two distenctive poetic devices. 1 Repetition! In the inner city
or
like we call it
home
we think a lot about uptown
and the silent nights
and the houses straight as
dead men
and the pastel lights
and we hang on to our no place
happy to be alive
and in the inner city
or
like we call it
home The repetition in this poem can be seen Here & Here Which is defined by dictionary.com as a
"repeated utterance; reiteration" 2 Similes Which can be defined as "a figure of speech in which two unlike things are explicitly compared, as in “she is like a rose.” " (dictionary.com) In this poem there are two similes... Can you tell me where they are? Here... take another look at the poem In the inner city
or
like we call it
home
we think a lot about uptown
and the silent nights
and the houses straight as
dead men
and the pastel lights
and we hang on to our no place
happy to be alive
and in the inner city
or
like we call it
home Did you find them?? In the inner city
or
like we call it
home
we think a lot about uptown
and the silent nights
and the houses straight as
dead men
and the pastel lights
and we hang on to our no place
happy to be alive
and in the inner city
or
like we call it
home Well here they are Now that we've gotten the basics out of the way, lets start to break down the poem and find out what it is actually about. Something you may not have realized the first time you read the poem is that there are actually a few symbols contained within its lines. SYMBOLS!! Can be be defined as "something used for or regarded as representing something else" (dictionary.com) According to Felice Aull "This short poem contrasts perspectives of the places where two different societal groups live." Felice goes on to say, "What the larger (white) society considers the inner city is what the poet and her people call "home." At the same time the inner city view of "uptown" is of a lifeless place that has no particular appeal. The poet would rather stay where she is, in this "no place" and "be alive."" Now you know that, there are two prominant symbols in this poem The fisrt symbol i would like to talk about is "home" In the inner city
or
like we call it
home
we think a lot about uptown
and the silent nights
and the houses straight as
dead men
and the pastel lights
and we hang on to our no place
happy to be alive
and in the inner city
or
like we call it
home In this poem, "home" represents the inner city and black society. Lucille describes "home" as her "no place" and she is happy to be there and be alive Which can be found right there The second symbol I would like to discuss is "uptown" In the inner city
or
like we call it
home
we think a lot about uptown
and the silent nights
and the houses straight as
dead men
and the pastel lights
and we hang on to our no place
happy to be alive
and in the inner city
or
like we call it
home Which is right here! "uptown" represents.... "the larger (white) society" (Aull) In the poem, Lucille describes "uptown" as a boring place. She sees it as a lifeless place that has no appeal to her. To wrap everything up I would like to ask you a question... What does this poem mean to you? To me its all about being proud of where you are, and about being happy with what you have.
There is always going to be something bigger and better out there, but if all you focus on is trying to get it then you will never truely be happy. Oh............Just so we dont get in any trouble, credit goes where credit belongs.
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