The Century Quilt Poem Summary

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Poetry Analysis “The Century Quilt” is an extraordinarily meaningful poem, revealing the feelings and thoughts Marilyn Nelson Waniek, the author of the poem, has for a quilt that has built memories from her past, and caused her to ponder the future. Through Wanieks use of imagery, tone, and structure, the meaning of the quilt is revealed to the reader by exploring the speakers mind. This poem immediately opens with a statement towards the tone. “My sister and I were in love/ with Meema’s Indian blanket,” (1-2). Just in the first two lines of the poem Waniek introduces two quilts and her feelings for them. Waniek describes her father’s blanket that she would sleep under, and then describes how she would play and have fun with her Meema’s Indian blanket. Her father’s blanket is just an army green blanket that would keep her warm while she sleeps. Her Meema’s blanket, however, is full of excitement and was used to play in and laugh with. By using the color…show more content…
“Whose fingers I imagine/ would caress me into the silence,”(19-20). These two lines give the reason behind the title of the poem. By giving the reader an image of the quilt lasting Waniek until death, the title “The Century Quilt” is finally brought into meaning. Other accounts of imagery are used to show how real the quilt was to Waniek, “Perhaps under this quilt/ I’d dream of myself, / of my childhood of miracles, /of my fathers burnt umber pride, / my mothers ochre gentleness,”(36-40). Waniek brings images of her parents and of her childhood and ties them into the quilt, bringing a new meaning to the poem. She sees her past and her future when she’s under the quilt, again furthering upon the idea of “The Century Quilt”. Through the use of imagery, tone, and structure, Waniek ties an ordinary everyday quilt into multiple complex meanings, not only giving the reader something to connect to, but also giving the poem an extraordinary feel to
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