The Century Quilt

902 Words4 Pages
In “The Century Quilt,” the speaker appreciates her family’s cultural diversity by comparing their heritage to a colorful quilt belonging to Meema. She shifts from past to present to future, continuing the extended metaphor in different scenarios. Author Mary Nelson Waniek uses a variety of literary techniques such as structure, imagery, and tone to develop the complex meanings interpreted throughout the poem.

Together, the poem is spoken through a woman who emphasizes the importance of family. She mentions different family members along with their skin color and describes short memories of each of them. Referring back to the quilt, the speaker elucidates how symbolically the quilt and her family tie together. To organize the poem, she structures
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She repeatedly refers to color when describing the quilt and her family members. For example, she mentions race when she states, “...among her yellow sisters, their grandfather’s white family…” (25-26). The description establishes the quilt being a metaphor for her diverse family having the author comment on the various colors shown through the sentimental blanket. The speaker also uses imagery when discussing her vivid dreams while dormant with the blanket as well as aspects of nature. In line 21 she states, “I think I’d have good dreams..” which then shifts to the dreams she imagines Meema had with the quilt. She believed Meema had dreams consisting of when “all of the beautiful sisters giggled and danced” and “trailing after her father through his Oklahoma field” (31-32 and 34-35). The heavy use of imagery reflects the speaker’s zeal tone on how her interpretation of the past, present, and future coincides with the…show more content…
She uses an extended metaphor that flourishes from the beginning of the poem all the way to the end. She compares the quilt to her diversified family describing it with many mundane colors. She uses a hyperbole when discussing the quilt saying how she would “have good dreams for a hundred years under this quilt” (21-22). This is an exaggeration referring to how comforting the quilt is that she could sleep with it for a hundred years. This also ties back into the title “The Century Quilt” because a century is one hundred years long. The speaker uses sublime language consistently throughout the poem to create a reflective mood for the reader.
The speaker reminisces on the past and what the future might look like with the sentimental quilt being in her possession. Her purpose was to emphasize the importance of the affinity of family despite the diversity in race and culture. The author is successful in doing this, using various literary techniques that assist her portray the
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