An Analysis Of Poem In 'Incident' By Natasha Tretheway

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“Incident” by Natasha Tretheway brings to life the horrors African Americans faced during the time the Ku Klux Klan was rampant in the United States. Fear and secretiveness was an everyday part of African American lives. They were unable to live like white Americans were due to the racism they faced. This poem, however, symbolizes the idea that life continues through the fear of it crumbling. The narrator is still alive to tell his or her story; therefore, this is evidence that life continues. Through the poem’s tone, metaphors used, and symbols expressed the poem portrays that fear can make life seem charred or obsolete, but in reality life propels through all seasons and obstacles it faces. The poem begins with a tone of conversation, but as it progresses the tone changes to a form of fear and secretiveness. The beginning and ending line “we tell…show more content…
The quote “by morning flames had all dimmed” (16,19) is symbolic to the theme that life continues after an obstacle is faced and overcame. The burning flame of fear waned, and a sense of relief was exposed by the narrator through the dimming of the lit flame. The wick of the candles is a symbol of the narrator himself. “The wicks trembling in their fonts of oil” (12) is symbolic to the fear the narrator and his family displayed in their homes as they watched the action peering through the window with their shades drawn. The word “trembling” is a direct declaration of how the narrator and his family felt in their homes as they watched with fear. The family was scared of what was going to happen to them as they watched the “white men in their gowns” (13) gather around the trussed cross. The cross burning symbolizes the impact the event had on the narrator. The narrator feared that he was watching his life burn before his eyes as he was watching the white angels in their gowns burn the

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