Natasha Trethewey's 'Photograph: Ice Storm, 1971'

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Natasha Trethewey’s Native Guard is a collection of poems highlighting the childhood of her life and honoring her mother. Additionally, Trethewey speaks about the racial background of the Deep South where she grew up and one of the first black regiments who were called into service during the Civil War, the Louisiana Native Guards. Trethewey includes sonnets and monuments to express the meaning behind her poetry. Throughout the collection of poems, there are certain poems that are very apparent in expressing the severity of Trethewey and the Native Guard’s struggles. One of the poem’s in Native Guard that truly captivates the story of Trethewey’s childhood and racial struggles is “Photograph: Ice Storm, 1971”. In “Photograph: Ice Storm, 1971”,…show more content…
In the middle of the poem she recounts, “or the storm that drives us inside / for days, power lines down, food rotting” (Trethewey 4-5). Trethewey opens up a new stanza with describing the storm that forces her family into the house for days, then moves to describe all the damage the storm has done outside and to her family. The storm has knocked down power lines and created rotting food for her family. Moreover, Trethewey ends the poem in the same structure, “why on the back has someone made a list / of our names, the date, the event: nothing / of what’s inside – mother, stepfather’s fist?” (Trethewey 13-15). Through these last couple of lines, Trethewey reveals the severity of the abuse that occurred in her home during the ice storm. The photograph captures the beauty of the ice storm, while Trethewey looks at the photograph as hideous because of all the problems that she went through below the surface level of the ice storm. Trethewey ceases to grasp why on the back of the photograph there are names and a date to commemorate the moment, when all she remembers is the abuse that occurred in her
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