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White Lies Natasha Trethewey Summary

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The poem “White Lies” by Natasha Trethewey tells us her story about growing up being biracial. In stanza 1 lines 2-3 it states “I was growing up light-bright, near-white, high-yellow, red-boned.” She could pass as a white girl because she was so lightly complected that people thought she was white. Natasha was raised on the poor side of town by the rail road tracks, which is where most of the black kids lived. She went to school where the classrooms were mixed with black and white students. At one point in time a white girl said, “Now we have three of us in this class” (stanza 2 lines 11-12). She basically meant that there were only three white girls in the class now, but she didn’t notice that Natasha actually wasn’t fully white. Living in…show more content…
Black people couldn’t go to certain restaurants, couldn’t go to the same bathroom as white people or even drink from the same water fountain as the white people. Natasha wanted to live the better life by being a white student, so when people would call her white she would just go with it and not correct anyone. Being white is a privilege and she liked passing as white. She could tell her white lies to people about her living uptown because in stanza 2 lines 5-6, Natasha’s mom makes her dresses homemade and they look like they came “straight out of Mansion Blanche.” Mansion Blanche is an expensive department store where a lot of the white people got their clothes from, and she wanted to fit in and be just like them. Her clothes were nice enough to where it did look like she bought her clothes there and that was another one of her “white lies” that she told. She didn’t want people knowing that she actually can’t afford to buy clothes from there. She didn’t want people to know that she lives by the railroad tracks, which is a section of the town that’s considered poor. She didn’t want to be labeled as not good enough, so instead she made people believe that she was
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