What It's Like To Be A Black Girl Analysis

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In Patricia Smith's’ What It’s Like to be a Black Girl (for Those of You Who Aren’t), she eliminates the use of stanzas in her poem, which makes it appear as a miniature short story to the reader. Without the stanzas, the reader is encouraged to read the poem straight through, only breaking where there is punctuation. Her powerful words keep the reader attentive and truly capture the essence of her life. She begins her poem with the line “First of all”, the F in first being the only capitalized letter in the poem. She does not use other transition words like then, next or second, which one would expect, however, with each line, she takes the reader as she transitions from childhood to womanhood for a young black girl. Stanzas can be used in a poem for a wide variety of things. A poet might include stanzas in his poem to group ideas, indicate a change in tone, or simply to create rhythm. However, in this poem the poet does not use stanzas. Each line of the poem takes you through a stage in her life. Her story begins with “...being nine years old and feeling like you’re not finished…”(1-2) as each line continues she takes the reader through the trials and tribulation of puberty, insecurity: “ pimping in front of mirrors that deny your reflection”(8-9) to joyous energy: “ jumping double dutch until your…show more content…
It appears as one large paragraph, to be read straight through. The sparing use of periods and absence of stanzas eliminates the use of a steady rhythm in the poem and limit breaks. The jarring words support the straightforward tone. Smith does not ease the reader into this emotional lifestyle but instead uses her poem as a way to throw the reader into the life of a black girl. In her frank tell- all poem she bears it all: the burdens and the blessings of black childhood, adolescent hood, then
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