Analysis Of The Century Quilt By Marilyn Nelson Waniek

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In the poem The Century Quilt, by Marilyn Nelson Waniek, the speaker expresses the deeper meaning by presenting a story about a quilt that has been passed down through the family. She continues to look back and express her family history though the memories as well as the passing on of the quilt to future generations. The quilt contains multiple meanings such as, her heritage and identity and even the diversity within family. As an author, she knows that to get this message across, it requires more than a simple story or memory, but also provide detailed imagery in which the reader will gain an insight to how meaningful and impactful this quilt is. The intensity in which the speaker describes this undertaking and the appreciation she feels …show more content…

Giving the reader a deeper insight into what the speaker is trying to get across is vital when it comes to analyzing poetry. In this poem, the use of a variety of color sends the reader's mind into the situation and allows them to visualize what the author is portraying through the colors. “Six Van Dyke brown squares,\two white ones, and one square\the yellow brown of Mama’s cheeks.”(Lines 15-17). The detail the speaker gives while describing her quilt allows readers to grasp the profound affection she obtains towards the deeper meaning behind her quilt. She continues to provide vivid imagery using many colors which reflects the speaker's interest towards the visual appeal of the quilt relating it to her. She also expresses imagery through her dreams by saying, “of my father's burnt umber pride” and “my mother's ochre gentleness.”(Lines 37,40) The colors play an important role because the color symbolizes her family, and those close to the speaker, “yellow brown of Mama’s cheeks...her yellow sisters...grandfather’s white family...my father’s burnt umber pride”(line 17,25,26,39). This emphasizes the unique attributes woven within her family heritage and how she takes pride in …show more content…

This sets up the poem for the audience to understand the importance of the quilt and how family is effortlessly tied to it. Wherever the quilt goes, or is mentioned, memories of family follow. The second stanza is setup to show the audience that the speaker has now gotten a quilt she can call her own. The mentioning of death within this stanza shows realism, and the awareness the speaker has on life and eventually worldly possessions die off. She talks of the quilt and how she wishes “to die under”(line 14). The word “silence” in the last line of the stanza is also a reference to death, but the speaker is not concerned because she has “fingers”, or memories to “caress her into silence”. The last stanza is the longest because the speaker has many hopes for future generations. She aspires for her future generations to adore the century quilt, just as she does. The speaker reminisces on past events from her childhood and grandmother to exemplify the memories she hopes her descendents will experience just as she did. The memories were told with great imagery and detail. In this last stanza most of the speaker’s extended family is mentioned, the audience is now aware that the speaker takes pride in her ancestry and heritage. These values are what keep the quilt together, those are the stitches, the foundation of the quilt. The poem is structured to

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