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ENGL 130H Claudia Rankines Citizen an American Lyric Essay

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Trunz 1 Grace Trunz Wendy Tronrud English 130H 8 May 2016 “The head’s ache evaporates into a state of numbness, a cave of sighs. Over the years you lose the melodrama of seeing yourself as a patient. The sighing ceases; the headaches remain. You hold your head in your hands. you sit still. Rarely do you lie down. You ask yourself, how can I help you? A glass of water? Sunglasses?” (Rankine, 62.1-6) Putting the Reader in Her Shoes: Claudia Rankine’s Citizen, An American Lyric Racism has been an ongoing issue for black Americans since they arrived through the transatlantic slave trade. Although some may choose to believe that racism is no longer relevant, Claudia Rankine expresses that the oppression is still present in her poem Citizen, An American Lyric. Within her poem, Rankine writes about the effects that racism has had on her and other minorities, regardless of wealth, success, or fame. In this particular section of her poem, Rankine seems to continue to illustrate the results of constantly enduring oppression from society. There is a great toll on the mental health of a person who repeatedly encounters this oppression and aggression. It is interesting how Rankine uses the pronoun “you” rather than “I” or “we,” as if she wants us to not be entirely sure of who the speaker is in this part of her poem. Is it possible that her misuse of pronouns could cause the reader to understand the illustration she is Trunz 2 conveying? Through her use of the “you ...
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