Monday, April 21, 2008

Intro. to "Hanging Fire" by Audre Lorde

Lorde, Audre. "Hanging Fire." The Norton Introduction to Poetry. J. Paul Hunter, Alison Booth, and Kelly J. Mays. 9th edition. New York: Norton 2007. 79-80.

2. This poem is basically about a fourteen year old girl that is sitting in her house preparing for graduation the next day and has to learn how to dance for her graduation and is frustrated because she does not know how. The speaker looks into the future and contemplates what could have been. Audre Lorde uses a lot of descriptive imagery to show how this girl is scared about growing up and becoming older.

3. I really liked this text simply because of the title that caught my eye. "Hanging Fire" or "holding" is an idiom, which means delaying, as in the delay between the firing of a gun and its explosion. I tried to consider the predicament of the speaker, who is afraid that the truth about her will be revealed when she dies. The speaker seems to not know when she will die, or how much time will pass, and there is "too much/ that has to be done" according to the second stanza (lines 20-21 ). In essence, she is "holding" fire. How much time will pass before her gun or "the truth" will explode? The answer to this question lies not in the speaker's literal death, but in the death of her silence. The speaker must resolve to identify all the parts of herself, especially that which she has kept hidden, not only from the reader, but possibly from herself. In reading this poem I believe it could be interpreted differently than I have interpreted it, but I was more or less intrigued by the title of the poem and how it relates to the structure and meaning of the whole text.

4. If I would relate this poem to one we have read in class, I would relate it to, Keats' Poem, "To Autumn." First reading over Keats' poem one could say that he is simply describing the main characteristics of autumn and the human and animal activities related to it; although, a deeper reading could suggest that Keats talks about the process of life much like Lorde's poem and the strife that the speaker is faced with in life's hardships.


jgchurch111 said...

I liked this poem as well. All the things that are flashing through this girls mind show the anxiety and unsurity in this stage of a person's life. Who can ever forget that part of life? It's so intense and chaotic. I'll admit I didn't read this poem enough times to identify what the repetition of "And momma's in the bedroom/with the door closed." might really mean. But it's sad because we at least see that her mother wasn't entirely there for her, maybe she was a bit inaccessable, or detatched. I liked your part about "between the firing of a gun and its explosion." good stuff.

Desiree Goodwin said...

Thanks! Yeah, I couldn't totally understand what those lines about her mother meant either; I took it in its literal sence, that the speaker felt like her mother was not at all apart of her life and we all know how many hardships we faced during this age! But overall I liked the poem too:)