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Copy of Analysis of I Lost My Talk by Rita Joe

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Matthew Huynh

on 10 September 2015

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Transcript of Copy of Analysis of I Lost My Talk by Rita Joe

I Lost My Talk
Summary and Explanation
Rita Joe
I Lost My Talk
by Rita Joe
by Rita Joe
Matthew, Zadoosh, Omar
- Joe was an Aboriginal poet
- Born in Whycocomagh, Nova Scotia in 1932
- Part of the Mi'kmaq tribe

- Attended a residential school in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia when she was a child
- Known as the Shubenacadie Indian Residential School
I lost my talk
The talk you took away.
When I was a little girl
At Shubenacadie school.

You snatched it away:
I speak like you
I think like you
I create like you
The scrambled ballad, about my word.

Two ways I talk
Both ways I say,
Your way is more powerful.

So gently I offer my hand and ask,
Let me find my talk
So I can teach you about me.

- Residential schools in Canada forced Aboriginal children to learn and assimilate into the Euro-Canadian culture

- Children were often forcibly taken from their homes, against their own wishes and the wishes of their parents

- Faced with poor conditions as the children were abused and isolated, and often grew unhealthy due to the diseases
Residential Schools
Poetic Devices
I speak
like you,

I think
like you,

I create
like you" (Joe 6-8)

- Rita Joe is trying to emphasize using repetition how she was forced to change from her native identity and adapt to a new and more
- It also shows how much she was forced to change because of her use of the words think, speak, and create
-The speaker of this poem, Rita Joe, is explaining that she was taken away as a child and was forced to attend a residential school

- She "lost her talk", meaning that she was forced to learn a Canadian language such as English or French over her native tongue, Mi'kmaq
Verse One
Verse Two
- Rita is referring to the white race and white peoples when she says 'You'. She speaks thinks, and creates just like the white people.

'The scrambled ballad, about my word' (9)
- Rita Joe uses a metaphor to describe her jumbled and conflicted speech between English and Mi'kmaq
Verse Three
- Rita comments on her ability to speak both languages, she understands and speaks in both languages

- However she says "Your way is more powerful" (12)

- May indicate that she speaks English better
- She realizes that English is a more popular language than Mi'kmaq
Verse Four
- Rita offers to teach others, specifically the white race, about her own language and culture (the Mi'kmaq culture)

- 'Teacher' role in the poem is reversed
I speak
(Joe 6)

-Rita Joe compares how she speaks to how "white people" talk
scrambled ballad,
about my word"
(Joe 9)

- Joe is trying to show how a ballad, which can either be an old folk song or poetry, represents who she has become is scrambled because of what the residential school has done to her.
"When I was a little girl, At Shubenacadie school" (Joe 3-4)

-Joe mentions the residential school she attended when she was young which touches on events that took place in history
-She gives a reference to something that occurs outisde of the poem
-The Shubenacadie school was located in Nova Scotia
Theme of Conformity
The poem shows that the Aboriginals have to conform to the Euro-Canadian culture. "I lost my talk/The talk you took away."

Shows that her native language is being stripped from her so that she can fully assimilate and conform to the "Canadian" culture.

Theme of Courage
Rita Joe expresses her new found courage to stand up and try to protect her culture. "So gently I offer my hand and ask,
Let me find my talk
So I can teach you about me. "

She wants to stand up and have a chance to keep her aboriginal culture and teach it to others, even after the systematic assimilation of her people and the destruction of their culture.
Form of Poem - Ballad
Rita tells a historical and dramatic story based on her previous life events and experiences
Full transcript