Analysis Of Jacqueline Woodson's When A Southern Town Broke A Heart

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In the story, When a Southern Town Broke a Heart, Jacqueline Woodson uses a variety of symbolism and metaphor to show that when you get wiser, your perception of things change. One example of Woodson conveying this theme is when she writes, “When the deep green beauty revealed my place and time in history and laid claim to that moment all children know, when the tendrils of adulthood move toward us, showing themselves long before we are ready to see.” This quote describes when she realized the nostalgia of her home was masking the bitter and unfortunate side that “adulthood” is showing her. This directly relates to the theme because as she becomes wiser and more experienced, (the tendrils of adulthood) her perception changes. (showing themselves long before we are ready to see.) This quote comes at the middle of the story, and sets up the metaphors at the end of the story.…show more content…
She writes “we’d been warned to stay away from the small patch of poison ivy that grew around the base of my grandparents’ backyard. But that year had been as theoretical as the segregation surrounding us. We saw the white people when we went downtown or as we drove through their neighborhoods on our way to visit relatives.” I believe that the poison ivy is a metaphor for racism and segregation. The ivy had always existed, but to Jacqueline it was theoretical because she had never experienced it. The racism was always looming above her head, but she wasn't wise enough to realize that it was there, later tainting her perception of home. Woodson elaborates further when she says,”I spent long periods of the day bent over the ivy, fascinated by the promise of its danger - a danger I believed i was protected
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