Julia Alvarez’s piece, “
Similarly to Alvarez’s poem, Langston Hughes piece, “Theme for English B”, deals with race relations during the civil rights movement. Although his poem is written in the beginning the momentum is still evident. Just as stream of consciousness gives the reader a view into the writer’s thoughts the development of this poem does the same. The speaker, Hughes himself, is better able to include the reader through this use of style. By naming specific, well known cities, Hughes gives the reader a concrete background through which to understand the point of his piece, that the role of race in everyday life is still unclear.
“Fork”, Jeffrey Harrison’s piece, deals with people’s relations without discussing race. The poem was written in 2003, as opposed to Hughes’ and Alvarez’s poems. However the underlying idea is still the role that other people can play in your own life. Forks are used to eat and are therein tied to a necessity in human existence. The teacher’s fork, though, is silver and frivolous. Instead of stealing the fork to use for its intended purpose the speaker uses the fork as decoration, to make a statement. The speaker is looking back on his time as a student, and reflecting on it. Instead of contemplating racial relations the speaker is examining student-teacher roles; the effect of the actions of someone holding power towards someone without power.
Written after the civil rights movement, but before modern racial relations, Lucille Clifton’s, “this morning (for the girls of eastern high school)”, is a simple reflection piece. While the other pieces tended to be quite lengthy and tending to a narrative form of poetry this piece uses the freedom of poetic structure fully. By using direct repetition
Though these pieces were all written at different times they can nonetheless relate to modern urban life. The civil rights movement may have officially ended and we are living in a theoretically well developed country but still racial relations are tense and grey. These writings call on the reader to reflect and attempt to internalize their diverse experiences, in order eventually gain progress.