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The Girl Who Loved the Sky Through Four Different Windows

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Lena Fox

on 4 December 2012

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Transcript of The Girl Who Loved the Sky Through Four Different Windows

If looking at the poem as a dream in the little girl’s life, her blind friend perfectly falls into the character of a wise old man, mentor, helper or guide, however you like to put it. The blind girl assists this hero on her journey through adolescence. She helps the speaker lose earthly attachments and find greater meaning and appreciation for beautiful things around her. She takes her hand and leads her to a greater state, metaphorically described when they ride the swings. “our shoes digging into the sand, then pushing,/until we flew over their heads,” (36-37) They soar above the heads of their peers intellectually and emotionally. The blind girl also aids her friend in preparing her for loss, and by teaching her to take advantage of things while she has them. She compares her loss of a father to her loss of eyes (123) so when she loses her friend the complete emptiness is not a shock. The blind girl holds the speakers hand through a major rite of passage: surviving elementary school in short and growing up. She transitions from a simplistic child to a seasoned and mature young adult, in her thinking and actions. For example, she starts the poem by passively admiring jacaranda flowers bloom and gently drift down to the ground (1-5) but ends the poem, after her rite of passage into maturity, by actively
the petals in my palm, enclosing them
until my fist was another lantern
hiding a small and bitter flame. (46-49)
The girl changes her naivety to experience, charged with emotion (that of the bitterness from her being left again) and purposefully pursuing action. This rite of passage into an intent adulthood is one of many in a hero’s journey and only made easier with the help of archetypal characters, found in the small blind girl. Analysis of The Girl Who Loved the Sky
by Anita Endrezze Four Different Eyes Formalist Approach A major theme of the “The Girl who Loved the Sky” is an ineffable theory of realization, of vision, of transformation and of the tug of war between gain and loss. If there was one word to combine these theories it would sum up the poem’s message. It tells of a story of a girl who gained a new sense of vision, method of description by the added use of senses when put into the shoes of a girl whose typical sense was cut off. With sight gone, the girl learns to use taste and sounds and feelings to give depth to a vast sky. With the help of her new friend, the sky was described throughout the poem as: “the sky/ tasted like cold metal when it rained” (18-19) and
the formless sky, defined
only by sounds, or the cool umbrellas
of clouds. On hot, still days
we listened to the sky falling
like chalk dust.(22-26)
These descriptions encompass three unconventional ways to define a very visual sky, taste, sound and touch. And as the speaker lost her dependence on sight, she gained a new knowledge and dimension to life. She also gained a friendship, previously unknown to her, after she lost her father. She later in the poem loses this friend and gains a new feeling. The tone of the poem changes from an observant and passive little girl to one filled with passion, revenge, and scars of lost. The entire poem is a transformation from naivety and almost feeling sorry for oneself to strength, adaptation and thankfulness for the gifts given to one. Archetypal Approach Freudian Approach Freud suggests that all humans wear a mask of a super ego and we can only really see who we are once we lose it. If we parallel this mask to eyes, the girl who has lost her eyes has gained a unique vision compared to those who still have a faux image of the world. In metaphorical sense, the blind girl has no superficial desires like those of her “blinded” peers. They are consumed with “pajama parties, weekend cook-outs, … and sleek-finned cars”(Endrezze 33-34). The girl who has lost her eyes clouded with trivial earthly things instead expresses interest in swings and sky and sand and rust (35-39). In a literal sense, the girl without eyes has obtained a whole new vision in description. In contrast to the very straightforward depiction of tables and chairs and chalk by her friend, the blind girl uses more sounds and ambiguous portrayals, hinting at a greater or possibly more intellectual or seasoned sense of awareness. The other Freudian interpretation is that of fatherly complexes. The speaker of the poem has no father. She relates to the blind girl by saying “I had no father; She had no eyes;” and subconsciously, the blind girl fills the position of a father figure. Her friend gives her advice, comfort, safety and someone to look up to as many dads do. This father in her friend also leaves paralleled to the Freudian Oedipus complex of a hero killing their father. The speaker had to lose her friend to grow up as Oedipus had to kill his father to fill his shoes i.e. growing up. The Girl Who Loved the Sky Outside the second grade room,
the jacaranda tree blossomed
into purple lanterns, the papery petals
drifted, darkening the windows. Inside, the room smelled like glue.
The desks were made of yellowed wood,
the tops littered with eraser rubbings,
rulers, and big fat pencils.
Colored chalk meant special days.
The walls were covered with precise
bright tulips and charts with shiny stars
by certain names. There, I learned
how to make butter by shaking a jar
until the pale cream clotted
into one sweet mass. There, I learned
that numbers were fractious beasts
with dens like dim zeros. And there,
I met a blind girl who thought the sky
tasted like cold metal when it rained
and whose eyes were always covered
with the bruised petals of her lids. She loved the formless sky, defined
only by sounds, or the cool umbrellas
of clouds. On hot, still days
we listened to the sky falling
like chalk dust. We heard the noon
whistle of the pig-mash factory,
smelled the sourness of home-bound men. I had no father; she had no eyes;
we were best friends. The other girls
drew shaky hopscotch squares
on the dusty asphalt, talked about
pajama parties, weekend cookouts,
and parents who bought sleek-finned cars Alone, we sat in the canvas swings,
our shoes digging into the sand, then pushing,
until we flew high over their heads,
our hands streaked with red rust
from the chains that kept us safe. I was born blind, she said, an act of nature.
Sure, I thought, like birds born
without wings, trees without roots.
I didn't understand. The day she moved
I saw the world clearly: the sky
backed away from me like a departing father. I sat under the jacaranda, catching
the petals in my palm, enclosing them
until my fist was another lantern
hiding a small and bitter flame. Feminist Approach From the eyes of a little girl, this poem is littered with liberation of this small girl from traditional female expectations. Although both are still children and have not yet grown into the harsher more restrictive female roles, some aspects hint at some established stereotypes and womanlike activity. The speaker begins by passively observing, not interacting with her environment; she is shy and not assertive. She merely observes the trees and flowers and is preoccupied with trivial things like “bright tulips” and “shiny stars” (11). Early female roles were based on submissive attitudes and a “don’t speak until spoken to” concept and both girls are dominated by metaphorical male figures. As they grow and the poem continues, the girls gain confidence, as women did in the early 1900’s, and shed their concerns with appeasing that metaphysical patriarch. Instead of acting childish and dependent on her dad, at the mention of his departure, she instead speaks with a tone of indifference and lack of interest. She states the fact of his absences as simply a fact, “I had no father” (29), not burdened with stereotypical female emotions and reliance. She breaks further out of the established womanly role with a second mention of her father. In speaking of this male figure, she transitions from obedience, to unconcern, to an open act of independence. She responds to her friend’s leaving, parallel to her father’s, with defiance. She grasps at previously dainty and feminine flowers and holds them, “hiding a small and bitter flame” (49). The description and response to the jacaranda flowers model the shift from a traditional female role to an independent and modern young lady.
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