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You will never be alone, you hear so deep
a sound when autumn comes. Yellow
pulls across the hills and thrums,
or the silence after lightning before it says
its names – and then the clouds’ wide-mouthed
apologies. You were aimed from birth:
you will never be alone. Rain
will come, a gutter filled, and Amazon,
long aisles – you never heard so deep a sound,
moss on rock, and years. You turn your head –
that’s what the silence meant: you’re not alone.
The whole wide world pours down.

Sometimes it isn’t big productions that give us strength and reassure us. There have been studies shown that nature calms people down, and people often have oceanic feelings of sorts when interacting with nature. I read this poem and knew exactly what Stafford meant by this because I’ve sought solace in the forest or on a hike or in the breathtaking chaos of a thunderstorm. Even if you don’t believe that there’s a Gd in nature, that He is among His creations, it’s as if nature takes on its own form, it is alive. You aren’t alone.

“Lord, it is time. Let the great summer go,

Lay your long shadows on the sundials,
And over harvest piles let the winds blow.

Command the last fruits to be ripe;
Grant them some other southern hour,
Urge them to completion, and with power
Drive final sweetness to the heavy grape.

Who’s homeless now, will for long stay alone.
No home will build his weary hands,
He’ll wake, read, write letters long to friends
And will the alleys up and down
Walk restlessly, when falling leaves dance.”

At first glance I believed that this poem was simply about the season changing to autumn, and all of the events that come along with it. Upon reading this over a few more times I realized that Rainer Maria Rilke was writing more about the coming to a close of something bigger. It is talking about about people shutting themselves up in their homes and isolating themselves. “Who’s homeless now, will for long stay alone. No home will build his weary hands” is talking about how with this ending, nothing new will start up for a while, we are all on our own.

You will never be alone, you hear so deep

a sound when autumn comes. Yellow

pulls across the hills and thrums,

or the silence after lightning before it says

its names — and then the clouds’ wide-mouthed

apologies. You were aimed from birth:

you will never be alone. Rain

will come, a gutter filled, and Amazon,

long aisles — you never heard so deep a sound,

moss on rock, and years. You turn your head —

that’s what the silence meant: your’e not alone.

The whole wide world pours down.

I take this as a poem about doubt, and the reassurance that, even in your doubt, you are not alone. In this big world, with lots of unknowns, we see the awesome natural occurrences and we get the sense that there is more to the world than just ourselves. These occurrences are dependable and unchanging. The world literally opens up to let us know that we will never be alone.

Those Winter Sundays

 

Sundays too my father got up early

and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,

then with cracked hands that ached

from labor in the weekday weather made

banked fires blaze.  No one ever thanked him.

 

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.

When the rooms were warm, he’d call,

and slowly I would rise and dress,

fearing the chronic angers of that house,

 

Speaking indifferently to him,

who had driven out the cold

and polished my good shoes as well.

What did I know, what did I know

of love’s austere and lonely offices?

In his poem, Hayden gracefully depicts a moment in one’s life when they realize that they did not fully comprehend the love that was given through an act of service. The narrator of this poem is an adult who is reflecting back to their childhood, recollecting the ways in which they had not realized that love comes in many forms. In the first line, “Sundays too” gives the impression that the father worked endlessly, not only at his weekday job, but on Sundays too, when he chopped wood early in the morning to make sure his family stayed warm through the winter. In line 5, when the narrator says, “No one ever thanked him.” this lets the reader know that the father’s hard work was unappreciated. The previous sentence in the poem is long and drawn out, but this sentence is short and unemotional. This adds a harsh tone to the poem, creating the sense that the narrator condemns their past behavior by representing it in a harsh, short way.

In the last stanza, the narrator says, “Speaking indifferently to him, who had driven out the cold and polished my good shoes as well.” The narrator realizes how unfeeling it was of them to speak indifferently to their father after he had done so much for their family.

What did they know about love? About unconditional love? About the love that never falters, even when it is not appreciated? At the end of the poem, the narrator realizes that they should have been more caring towards their father. They realize that their father had expressed love to them in a way that they did not understand. Hayden’s use of austere as it relates to love in the context of this poem works beautifully with the message he is trying to send. When Hayden writes, “love’s austere” the reader can relate the harsh conditions of winter, to the strict manner in which the father’s love was shown. In the poem, it is apparent that the family lives their life under harsh conditions, a life without the comfort of luxuries. Love’s austere describes love as being ceaseless and matter-of-fact. The use of claiming love to have austere suggests that love itself is plain and ceaseless, much like the father. Thus, at the end of the poem, the narrator has realizes that their father is full of love or is even a representation of love itself.

 

 

Men at forty
Learn to close softly
The doors to rooms they will not be
Coming back to.

At rest on a stair landing,
They feel it
Moving beneath them now like the deck of a ship,
Though the swell is gentle.

And deep in mirrors
They rediscover
The face of the boy as he practices trying
His father’s tie there in secret

And the face of that father,
Still warm with the mystery of lather.
They are more fathers than sons themselves now.
Something is filling them, something

That is like the twilight sound
Of the crickets, immense,
Filling the woods at the foot of the slope
Behind their mortgaged houses.

-Donald Justice

 

This poem seems like it’s about a man going through a midlife crisis. He is reminiscing on his time as a child and learning simple things like tying a tie and being able to slam doors without worrying about waking children up. The use of imagery made a very clear picture of what the man is going through. I think the author found a classy way of complaining about life. Justice is good at making his point clear in a few lines. If this poem were any longer, I’m afraid the subject would get repetitive and old.

At last he sleeps, in fits and half-dreamed fears,
that love, and work, and life are passing vapor,
and all the wings he made, he’s made of paper. 

In “About Suffering,” Dave Lucas does an amazing job of using Icarus and his father to represent the tribulations of mankind in everyday life. We are bold and we are bright, as Icarus was. We are relentless workers afraid that life is passing us by, that we will never catch up, as is Daedalus. What will come of us and our contributions?  Suffering is of and apart of everyone. Lucas coveys this through his solemn tone,” Of course the world must break and scatter him along.” The soberness of this tone helps relate the reality of the world to the reader and solidifies the notion that suffering is for everyone, for the common man.  The dichotomy of Icarus and Daedalus represent the phases one can go through in life. Icarus is ” young and proud. He likes the sound of his own voice.”; he is who we are before anguish settles itself into the nooks and crannies of our soul. He is a novice and the world will best him. We are all bested at some point. Daedalus is “bent to an unforgiving craft in someone else’s labyrinth.” In our lives, we live routinely–we live comfortably. We become bested and still we work, we go to school, we live. Pain comes gradually and all at once, we continue.  We are both Icarus and Daedalus; hopeful and cautious. Optimists and pessimists, we live each day trying to remain upright. Hoping that what we do and experience means something.

Here’s the whole poem:

About Suffering

It’s never Icarus. It’s not that grand
gesture of feather, wax and atmosphere
in flux, it’s less than that, it’s lesser than—.
It doesn’t happen in pentameter:
suffering, failure, agonies in gardens,
but in the sideways-speak of bureaucrats
whose words, like these, disguise what they intend.
Under soft, fluorescent suns of waiting rooms,
physicians’ consultations, where the lungs
on the light box are spread out like wings,
all this illumination just to show
the dark spots slowly blotting out our names.
Sadder than tragedy, and silly, these cuts
that bleed you dry. I mean you. You know
as well as I—Icarus is not for us.
He flies and falls, that’s all. He doesn’t joke
to hide his fear, or seem ashamed, or wound
lovers with rusted, jagged-edged words.
He never sulks in tristesse after sex.
He’s young and proud. He likes the sound
of his own voice. Of course the world must break
and scatter him among the falling birds.
It’s never him. His father, Daedalus—
he’s our muse, bent to an unforgiving craft
in someone else’s labyrinth, the dark
exile in which he sets himself to work:
letting the candles gutter so the wax
spills, seals vane and down at quill and shaft,
working longer into the thankless night.
He has worked feathers into these wings for years.
He has slim hope, at best, that they will hold.
Come daybreak they will stand outside the gate
and test the wind. For once he will be bold.
At last he sleeps, in fits and half-dreamed fears
that love, and work, and life are passing vapor,
and all the wings he’s made he’s made of paper.

 

 

My mother never forgave my father
for killing himself,
especially at such an awkward time
and in a public park,
that spring
when I was waiting to be born.
She locked his name
in her deepest cabinet
and would not let him out,
though I could hear him thumping.
When I came down from the attic
with the pastel portrait in my hand
of a long-lipped stranger
with a brave moustache
and deep brown level eyes,
she ripped it into shreds
without a single word
and slapped me hard.
In my sixty-fourth year
I can feel my cheek
still burning.

In the span of one hundred words Kunitz manages to take the reader through an entire lifetime of a child without a father: more specifically with the sentence “She locked his name / in her deepest cabinet / and would not let him out, / though I could hear him thumping.” The reader gets an image of Kunitz as a young boy, never having known the man that was his father, with a mother that refused to talk about him. The line “though I could hear him thumping.” gives a note of finality on the subject; although his mother wanted nothing more than to bury the memory of his father, Kunitz could not. Like an itch that would not go away and that he could not scratch without her help, he could get no instantaneous relief from forgetting the word; father.

In the next sentence “When I came down from the attic / with the pastel portrait in my hand / of a long-lipped stranger / with a brave moustache / and deep brown level eyes, / she ripped it into shreds / without a single word / and slapped me hard.” Kunitz uses generic descriptive words in an excellent way, I believe to showcase that though they were features one could find on any man on the street, they were all he had left of his father, and his mother slapped him for finding it. The harshness of his mother’s slap, and his vivid recalling of the incident in the line “In my sixty fourth year / I can feel my cheek / still burning.” allows the reader to come full circle with the knowledge that he is, in a sense, still the same young boy without a father; the issue is still unresolved. The writing is subtle in that it does not dramatize the situation- it is merely stating the facts of this man’s life.

My mother never forgave my father
for killing himself,
especially at such an awkward time
and in a public park,
that spring
when I was waiting to be born.
She locked his name
in her deepest cabinet
and would not let him out,
though I could hear him thumping.
When I came down from the attic
with the pastel portrait in my hand
of a long-lipped stranger
with a brave moustache
and deep brown level eyes,
she ripped it into shreds
without a single word
and slapped me hard.
In my sixty-fourth year
I can feel my cheek
still burning.

I felt there were a lot of relatable aspects of the poem that were presented in a way that showed rather than said explicitly the complex feelings in dealing and going through life without a father, in this case, a father who committed suicide.  As someone who has a first-hand experience of not being able to talk about my father who was not in the picture, so to be able to read a poem that so accurately captures the complex terrain of this issue was enjoyable.  “My mother never forgave my father / for killing himself” shows the complex way that although the death of a loved is an obvious tragedy and hard thing to overcome, the intense love that one feels for their significant other can also cause feelings of betrayal and hurt to come into the picture in the way that the mother felt abandoned, left alone to raise a child, a normally considered joyous arc in a couples life.  The mother now has to contend with emotions of grief, well also being able to continue to care for herself and in the near future, her baby since it happened “when [he] was waiting to be born”.  “She locked his name / in her deepest cabinet / and would not let him out” is a good use of imagery to show how the topic of the father had become this forbidden and sensitive issue, that for all intents and purposes were trying to be buried and forgotten.  The phrase out of sight, out of mind comes is relevant here because it is often one of the biggest coping mechanisms is to push and bury and forget until you can pretend that nothing ever happened.  Although this doesn’t reconcile feelings of loneliness and grief, it does create a pathway to ignore such things and devote time and energy to other things that maybe matter more, like the start of a new family.  However, in cases like this, there can arise a discrepancy in the intent of a parent and the impact it has on a child, such that the child doesn’t always understand the meaning of designated taboo feeling sensitive issues evoke.  “though I could hear him thumping” is indicative of this in the way that the despite the child comprehending to some degree that the safely guarded and hidden away memory of the father was painful, the child still yearns to know of the memory of a man that should have been part of his life.  The painfulness of the subject is also once again reiterated with the lines “she ripped it into shreds / without a single word / and slapped me hard”.  In times like these words just tend to fall short or the emotions being felt are too strong to form coherent sentences, so it is much easier to act than to explain and provide a form of clarity.  “In my sixty-fourth year / I can feel my check / still burning” shows how the situation in terms of the issue of the father hasn’t changed much from before, and also shows how the event was monumental in the mother/child relationship as it left a mark on their relationship, enough for the memory and the repercussions it presented to last even into old age of the child

 

Men at Forty

Men at forty
Learn to close softly
The doors to rooms they will not be
Coming back to.

At rest on a stair landing,
They feel it
Moving beneath them now like the deck of a ship,
Though the swell is gentle.

And deep in mirrors
They rediscover
The face of the boy as he practices tying
His father’s tie there in secret

And the face of that father,
Still warm with the mystery of lather.
They are more fathers than sons themselves now.
Something is filling them, something

That is like the twilight sound
Of the crickets, immense,
Filling the woods at the foot of the slope
Behind their mortgaged houses.

 

I found this poem to have a tone of gloominess. I think it is easily understood but uses a large amount of imagery. I think the door in the beginning is supposed to be a metaphor, maybe to closing the door on a younger life? Since this poem is about middle age. To me, the most powerful image is the one of the man looking in the mirror and seeing a boy learning how to type. I think this image really captures what the point of the poem is.

Autumn Day

Lord: it is time. The huge summer has gone by.
Now overlap the sundials with your shadows,
and on the meadows let the wind go free.

Command the fruits to swell on tree and vine;
grant them a few more warm transparent days,
urge them on to fulfillment then, and press
the final sweetness into the heavy wine.

Whoever has no house now, will never have one.
Whoever is alone will stay alone,
Will sit, read, write long letters through the evening,
and wander on the boulevards, up and down,
restlessly, while the dry leaves are blowing.

-Rainer Maria Rilke

In this poem, Rainer Maria Rilke effortlessly encapsulates the spirit of autumn. The final stanza evokes the cozy, comfortable feeling of relaxing indoors on a crisp autumn night: “Whoever is alone will stay alone,/Will sit, read, write long letters through the evening.” He manages to make solitude appear almost desirable when paired with the beauty of autumn: “Whoever is alone will stay alone…and wander on the boulevards, up and down/Restlessly, while the dry leaves are blowing.” His plea to God to initiate the shift from summer to autumn manages to, in just six short lines, perfectly capture the beauty of the season, the reason why Rilke is anticipating it so: “Now overlap the sundials with your shadows,/And on the meadows let the wind go free./Command the fruits to swell on tree and vine/Grant them a few more warm transparent days,/Urge them on to fulfillment then, and press/The final sweetness into the heavy wine.” The image of the autumn harvest (“Command the fruits to swell on tree and vine…and press/The final sweetness into the heavy wine.”) manages to conjure feelings of both nostalgia (for summer, now gone) and anticipation (for a season filled with abundance). Likewise, the first line of the final stanza (“Whoever has no house now, will never have one.”) evokes a feeling of melancholy, a sense of aloneness, of fear at what is to come in the following seasons–the darkness, the cold, the isolation.

The Heaven of Animals

Here they are.  The soft eyes open.
If they have lived in a wood
It is a wood.
If they have lived on plains
It is grass rolling
Under their feet forever.
Having no souls, they have come,
Anyway, beyond their knowing.
Their instincts wholly bloom
And they rise.
The soft eyes open.
To match them, the landscape flowers,
Outdoing, desperately
Outdoing what is required:
The richest wood,
The deepest field.
For some of these,
It could not be the place
It is, without blood.
These hunt, as they have done,
But with claws and teeth grown perfect,
More deadly than they can believe.
They stalk more silently,
And crouch on the limbs of trees,
And their descent
Upon the bright backs of their prey
May take years
In a sovereign floating of joy.
And those that are hunted
Know this as their life,
Their reward: to walk
Under such trees in full knowledge
Of what is in glory above them,
And to feel no fear,
But acceptance, compliance.
Fulfilling themselves without pain
At the cycle’s center,
They tremble, they walk
Under the tree,
They fall, they are torn,
They rise, they walk again.

-James Dickey

 

Dickey is amazingly descriptive throughout this poem despite using minimal words in each stanza. There are hidden meanings in each stanza, which contribute to the overall meaning of the poem. For example, in the first stanza, Dickey writes “The soft eyes open. / If they have lived in a wood / It is a wood. / If they have lived on plains / It is grass rolling / Under their feet forever.”  In this stanza, Dickey is saying that looking into the eyes of an animal is like looking into the depths of their soul; you get a glimpse of where they’ve been and what they’ve seen and experienced without either one saying anything. The last line of the first stanza, “”Under their feet forever.”, lets the reader know that the animals Dickey talks about throughout the poem are in heaven (Dickey uses the word “forever”). Throughout this poem, Dickey describes predators and prey and how they are both interconnected. In the first part of this poem, Dickey describes innocence and the unsuspecting, typical characteristics of young prey. In the second part of the poem, Dickey describes slyness, cunningness, and wit, which are more characteristic of predatory animals. Dickey ties both predator and prey back together at the end of the poem by saying that although predators and prey are separate entities, they are a part of the same cycle: the cycle of life.

I was fully aware that I was of interest to the interns because of the ways in which doctors had worked on and altered my body. But I wasn’t a car or an experimenter, and I didn’t want to be regarded as such. Eventually, Dr. Elliot understood and complied. “You’re all grown up now,” he said. Vince clearly was not going to acknowledge this. What was I to him, then, as a patient? Perpetually a little girl? A half-man, an almost-man, an almost-woman, an almost-person?

In this quote Emily Rapp is looking back on a memory she has that she can easily recall. She is writing in first person. She writes about how she viewed the experiment when it was happening and then towards the end of the quote she states her point of view that she has now looking back on the event. This is clear when she uses the phrase, “What was I to him, then, as a patient?” She is trying to illustrate how she is now realizing how naive she was then and how naive the people in her life believed her to be. In trying to figure this out she tries to put herself in Vince’s shoes and ask what he was thinking.

But now one summer later, I was hanging out with the popular girls. I was wearing their clothes, which I realized was part of the problem. I was not like my friends.

 

In Emily Rapp’s memoir, “Poster Child”, we see a first person point of view being used. From reading these chapters, we see that she is reflecting on her past experiences and adding to her thoughts about these experiences, based on what she has learned as being an adult. Like when she was she was wearing her friends clothes, which she realized was part of the problem. At the time when her friend gave her these clothes she was excited to wear them but then she realized that she never should have taken those clothes in the first place. In class we asked the question, why would anyone want to read our stories? I think that Emily Rapp has a story that many people can relate to but she has a different perspective on things, and that makes it interesting for the reader. In one of the chapters she is telling us a story about being out with her friend. She starts out by saying she is in the car on the way to a party and she keeps trailing off and telling us about other things before she continues her story. This is a good way of keeping the reader interested and wanting to keep reading to figure out where they are going.

Point of View

“…the summer I agreed to do things I didn’t want to do and laughed at jokes that weren’t funny. I had just turned sixteen, and what I wanted more than anything else in life was to be beautiful. I didn’t care about being smart, successful, or good. In fact, I believed that beauty was the prerequisite for achieving any of those other qualities”
– Poster Child, Emily Rapp, page 128

Emily Rapp writing in first-person narrative is not a unique style for a memoir. Her coming of age chapters, too, are not entirely unique. They are different in the way that the vast majority of us do not have to worry about matching our prosthetic leg to our flesh leg, which has obviously been a theme in this book. That’s what she wants us to care about, in theory—her time living and growing and rolling with the punches of being disabled. And no doubt, that there were memorable moments in the chapters that revolved around her leg and the trouble of being insecure because of it and asking for a different model and so forth. But what was really poignant in her writing, to me, was when she didn’t talk about her leg. Because in her desperation to be just any other girl, she was, and I don’t think she even realized it. And through her perspective of counting calories, and laughing at jokes that weren’t funny and just over everything wanting to be pretty—she is, just another girl. And we’ve been reading the whole book so far and she’s always been highlighting what sets her apart, but coming of age and those growing pains, that’s seemingly universal.

I had agreed to wear this skirt because it was the summer of 1990: the summer I agreed to do things I didn’t want to do and laughed at jokes that weren’t funny.  I had just turned sixteen, and what I wanted more than anything else in life was to be beautiful.  I didn’t care about being smart, successful, or good.  In fact, I beleived that beauty was the prerequisite for achieving any of these other qualities (Rapp 128).

I think what Rapp is able to do in her memoir that is remarkably interesting is how although her memoir is a story filled with events that seem unrelatable and completely unique on one level, she is able to create a sense of empathy and interconnectedness with the reader.  Asides from being disabled, Rapp is very much still a female of the world.  Where she struggles with identity issues due to her leg and from not having a socially “acceptable” body, some of her identity issues also stem from worries any other women have, such as finding worth in being able to be loved, married, and desired.  Dilemmas with religion- with prayers not being answered- although specific to her in that she wished to be whole and made anew, are still similar to the reality of others- of hoping so hard for something, yet never attaining it.  Rapp presents us with a story unimaginable to most, and although it is an experience that I cannot fully empathize with since I have not lived it, to a degree I can.  Is it this ability to empathize and sympathize with her struggle that reels the reader in so close it makes one feel united.

Openmouthed, Ashley looked at Melissa. Melissa stared at her. Ashley shut her mouth, stepped out of the car, and slid into the backseat with me. She looked up at Melissa and then scooped up the puke with Melissa’s expensive sweater. I felt as though I had won some unnamed battle, that this round in the invisible fight was mine. Although it seemed impossible, I had found a way to hide.

In this paragraph, we see how Emily, at the age of sixteen, feels vulnerable to the speculation of others outside of her group of friends. She writes from a first person retrospective standpoint to show the reader how she truly felt during this tender age in her life. This paragraph does a wonderful job at explaining just how important appearance was to Emily at this stage in her life. It shows the extent she would go to in order to save herself from a situation of potential humiliation. Rapp says that she, “felt as though I had won some unnamed battle” in which the battle was finding a way out of her mini skirt. She had, “found a place to hide” meaning that she could hide the prosthetic leg from view of being speculated. Although throwing up in her skirt was embarrassing all in itself, Emily found it a rather appealing outcome in comparison to the humiliation she might have felt if she would have gone into the party exposing her leg. This paragraph was so wonderful because I felt as though Emily portrayed her feelings about her appearance in a away many young girls could relate.

Rapp writes in a way where the reader can easily visualize the situation at hand, and feel as if they are there with her, sharing the same experiences she has.

 

 

 

My face burned. I adored the vets, but I was not a man or a war veteran. I was a girl on the verge of becoming a woman (pg. 112)

Emily Rapp uses first person in her memoir, Poster Child. The use of first person is important because it is really a great technique to draw a reader in and really have the reader be in your shoes. The quote above is an example of this. Rapp displays how she feels like an outsider not only to society in general but also around people with disabilities like hers. She can’t relate to them because she isn’t a hero that lost a limb she was born like that and it makes her feel different and almost alone. We wouldn’t be able to tell this if the story wasn’t told in first person. Understanding Rapp’s frustration and sadness is a crucial part in getting the most out of this story emotionally. When reading the first person, one gets much more out of it then if they were being told a story.

“That  girl was trying to tell me something, but whatever she had to say, I didn’t want to hear it.”

In Poster child, Emily Rapp does an amazing job of articulating the feelings of herself and other characters in past tense and juxtaposing them with the feelings and ideas she currently holds. Doing so allows her to give a multilevel experience to her readers. In which, she exposes–in raw truth– the feelings, ideas, and understanding she had then, with her newfound understanding. She then uses her analysis of both to get a pivotal point across to the readers about her experience and life experiences as a whole.  The combination of these things makes this a poignant read, where individuals care about her and want to continue to read about her. They can relate to her through different experiences and emotions they have also had. They can begin to understand a new perspective on the world or they can simply read and absorb. Whatever an individual personally gets from this book is up to them, but there is no way nothing resonated with them at all, that they could careless about Emily or any experience that she had.

“Stop it!” I’d scream at her, releasing all of my rage on the most convenient and undeserving target. “Stop looking at me!” Whereas I had once commanded her attention, it now annoyed me when she monitored my gait; it threatened my elaborate and carefully constructed plan of passing as normal. But even as I resented her preoccupation with my leg, I also relied on it. As long as Mom was thinking about it, I could do my best to erase the fact of the leg from my mind. So she was the one who had noticed the chewed-up-looking foot.

I believe Emily Rapp writes her memoir in first person so everyone who reads it can feel her emotions as if they are their own. This is the closest way her readers will get to experiencing her life, and it is often what keeps us reading. It is much more interesting to understand the emotions behind an experience rather than just being told about the account. In the paragraph above, you can really feel her anger. She presents the anger in a way that most mothers and daughters would be able to easily relate to.

“I wanted all signs of my body’s idiosyncrasies and deficiencies to be promptly hidden if they could not be permanently removed. At the same time, I knew that no matter how well the leg worked or how clean the hinges or the new foot, I could never have what I wanted, which was the leg I’d prayed for years ago at my First Communion: one made of soft, pliable flesh and strong bones, with real blood running through its veins. Whatever Vince did, no matter how hard he worked and no matter how ardently I hoped, it would never be enough. I hated him for that.”

-Emily Rapp, Poster Child page 116

Emily, I believe, writes her memoir in first person form so that she can accurately relay each and every feeling and emotion that comes along with each event in her life. This paragraph was so raw in my opinion because you see the maturity level of a young adult and how she, as a typical teenager, could never be satisfied with anything given to her. What really stuck out in this passage however is how despite having the exterior appearance of a teenagers maturity level, she is still  wishing for a leg the way most children wish for a puppy for Christmas, or for their hair to grow longer. It is so innocent and heartbreaking because since she was a baby she was deprived of this sense of normalcy and unlike other children doesn’t have the privilege to wish for such mundane things. Instead she is wishing for a real live leg instead of the prosthetics she has been unfairly forced into choosing from. That is why the point of view is so important in this memoir because it makes us care about Emily and her situation, because now we are in her mind, she is revealing her innocence and disappointment, and even rage to us that we never would have been able to experience if she decided to write this differently. People want to feel emotion, any emotion when they are reading a piece of work and Emily is an artist in the way she is revealing every emotion to us. I also thought that it was interesting the way she wrote this passage with a few long sentences instead of breaking her thoughts up into smaller chunks. It is as if all of this was just rapidly spilling out of her head onto the page, which makes this passage that much more real to me.

 

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