Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Here is the poem that I picked:

"Making a Fist" by Naomi Shihab Nye

For the first time, on the road north of Tampico,
I felt the life sliding out of me,
a drum in the desert, harder and harder to hear.
I was seven, I lay in the car
watching palm trees swirl a sickening pattern past the glass.
My stomach was a melon split wide inside my skin.

"How do you know if you are going to die?"
I begged my mother.
We had been traveling for days.
With strange confidence she answered,
"When you can no longer make a fist."

Years later I smile to think of that journey,
the borders we must cross separately,
stamped with our unanswerable woes.
I who did not die, who am still living,
still lying in the backseat behind all my questions,
clenching and opening one small hand.

Naomi Shihab Nye uses a central metaphor in the Poem "Making a Fist" to compare life's journey to the little things. Although many big events occur in our lives, we often fail to see the little things that actually help. In this poem she explains that she feels as if she were dying. She said, "I felt the life sliding out of me," (2). She was clearly suffering and had the inner sense that her life might be coming to an end. When she uses the phrase "a drum in the desert, harder and harder to hear." (3), you can immediately hear a parade's loud drumming fading away as it passes farther down the street. These two lines express how she felt at that time. At the end of the poem, she has a verse filled with big things that happen in one's life. She said, "the borders we must cross separately,/ stamped with our unanswerable woes." (12-13). These are things that people accomplish over time, through a journey. Lastly, she brings up the idea of how much those small things really do help. She said, "still lying in the backseat behind all my questions,/ clenching and opening one small hand." (16-17). This was what would prevent her from dying, just assuring herself that she could still tighten her hand into a fist. This action is incomparable to death, or "unanswerable woes" (14). Through that comparison, Naomi Shihab Nye shows that by simply making a seemingly insignificant gesture, it can affect the end result in many ways.


Haley W said...

Nice Eve, your explaination was really clear! When I first read your poem, I felt like I knew what the author was trying to say, but I couldn't verbalize it, put it into words. But after reading your analysis, it makes much more sense, that little things can affect the big picture (or life). Wow, okay, I'm getting philosophical now... Anyways, I liked your choice in poem because the message wasn't really clear; it was a challenge! :)

Jenny R. said...

Wow, that's a really interesting poem. Your analysis was great. Personally, I felt like the "making a fist" might itself symbolize struggling against the bad stuff in life. When the mom says you're going to die when you can't make a fist, it could be saying that if you no longer have the will to struggle for what you want, you are good as dead.

hailey139 said...

I can see that you chose a poem by the same author as the poem, "Rain" which we studied in class. Nice through job analyzing different phrases in the poem. You really worked it! Your analysis really carries the reader from point and to the end in a patient thourough process which i like. Tres Bein!


Victor Rodirguez said...

I think it really clear the way you explained everything in the poem