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Choices By Nikki Giovanni Analysis

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There are major milestones that all people endure, such as the birth of a child, starting a career, or the death of a loved one. All of these milestones, no matter how insignificant they may seem to some, undoubtedly have a profound effect on the recipient. Truthfully, no one can successfully progress through life without enduring hardships or unfortunate circumstances. The success of the people who undergo serious life changes is dependent upon how well they choose to handle their happenings. “Choices”, written by Nikki Giovanni, stresses the importance of attempting to deal with one’s circumstances in a positive way, especially the circumstances that may be viewed as unfair or unfortunate.
In an online video clip, Giovanni states that the poem was written the year her father passed away; he died one day after her thirty-ninth birthday. This was a tragedy which presumably had a profound effect on her life, as she had
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The speaker basically says if they cannot get their way, then they will not do anything at all. They state that they know that doing what they need to do and not doing it are not the same, but that “it’s the best I can do” (lines 7-8). If one is looking at the poem from a literal sense, then these lines can be taken to mean that the speaker is stubborn and stuck in a childish mindset. But when looking at Giovanni’s life, a more profound tone begins to take form.
There are five stages of grief: anger, denial, bargaining, depression, and acceptance (Grief.com). They are representative of people learning to deal with the lives they must lead after the loss of a loved one. The first stanza symbolizes the first stages of grief and mourning. This stanza embodies the characteristics of anger and denial. Giovanni is struggling to comprehend and accept the death of her father, and may be stuck wishing for the life she had with her father, not dealing with the life she must live without
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