Incident By Natasha Trethewey Analysis

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Luminescence of the Incident Imagine people standing right by your house and committing horrendous acts; people whom, if given the chance, would not hesitate for a second before taking your life away. Imagine the fear and terror you would feel, and try to put yourself into the position of such a helpless somebody. The poem “Incident”, written by Natasha Trethewey, deals with a person in such a situation. The poem begins by the speaker telling the reader that the story that would now be told is told annually, emphasizing the significance of the story to “we”, presumably a family, based on clues given later in the poem. Then, using the verse “how we peered from the windows, shades drawn” (Trethewey 2), it immediately puts us in the place of the figures in the poem, by the usage of the imagery about the shades being drawn, as if hiding from something to be scared of, and by the careful choice of the word “peering”, instead of simply “looking” or “staring”, which gives us the sense that the figures are afraid of being seen. Then, despite having set up this mood of fear, the speaker takes a step back, and seems to be trying to calm us, the readers, down by reminding us that nothing really happened and that even the environment around the incident has now returned to its original, vivid colors. Following that, however, we are put back into the mood of fear by the repetition of the verse about peering, which is a benefit the form of a pantoum provides to the poem. Writing the

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