Analysis Of Lucille Clifton 's ' Forgiving My Father ' Essay

Analysis Of Lucille Clifton 's ' Forgiving My Father ' Essay

Length: 1041 words (3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

"Forgiving My Father", a poem written by Lucille Clifton, is about a relationship between a daughter and her father. Lucille Clifton is a female poet/author for several poems and children 's book. She was born in 1936 "in a small town near Buffalo, New York"; she attended Howard University, and she earned her teaching degree at Fredonia State Teacher 's College. She won numerous awards and recognitions, including an Emmy, for her works. She died in 2010 after a long battle with cancer. "Forgiving My Father" is part of the collection in her 1980 book Two-Headed Woman (Schilb and Clifford 270). In this poem, Clifton described a daughter 's memories of her father led her to become angry with him, sympathize with him, and eventually forgive him.
The poem starts out with the daughter 's visit to her father and demand for money; an old memory is haunting the daughter. feeding off her anger. The daughter calls the father "a ghost [who] stood in [her] dreams," indicating that he is dead and she is now reliving an unpleasant childhood memory as she stands in front of his grave, which make the setting takes place in a cemetery (Clifton 4, 3). Throughout the stanza, the poet use money-related analogy like, "payday" or "bills" to tells the reader that there is a financial issue between the two characters (Clifton 2, 5). She has come to "the paying of the bills," saying her father owns her the compensation for all the unhappiness he put her through, but the father always failed to make his payment (Clifton 5). Also, the poet mentions Friday, which is the most populous day for workers to get paid. The father was supposed to hand over his salary to his wife, but he never had any, possibly because he was unemployed since there was a few recess...


... middle of paper ...


... desperate, and trapped man (Clifton 20). She pities him. In the end, she decides to let bygone be bygone and forgive him. He is dead; what is the point of standing here being angry and collecting money from a poor old corpse. The father is forever in debt and he never will pay the money. Her only possible rational choice is to move on with life.
Through this poem, the poet is trying to say that family members may not always get along, but in the end, no matter how much bitterness or how deep the wound, they will find a way to forgive each other. The whole poem is developed around the theme of forgiveness and understanding. The daughter 's hatred for her father is resolved by understanding her father 's situation and she learns to forgive him. Even today, forgiveness is essential in driving the society forward, not just within the family, but also in the community.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Lack of Forgiveness in Lucille Clifton's poem Forgiving My Father

- The title of Lucille Clifton's poem, "forgiving my father", seems to be in sharp opposition with the poem itself. There seems to be no forgiveness, yet the title claims that it is there. The entire poem focuses on the debt of the author's father. "it is Friday." she says, "we have come to the paying of the bills." (1-2). But perhaps it doesn't necessarily mean that it is literally Friday, perhaps she just means it is the end, and maybe the debt isn't one of money, but of love. Clifton is using a monetary debt to symbolize a debt of love and affection....   [tags: Forgiving My Father Essays]

Better Essays
655 words (1.9 pages)

Poem Analysis : ' Forgiving My Father ' Essay example

- Roseline Conteh Professor Hoeflinger ENWR-106 14 October 2015 Essay 2 Holding onto grudges for a long period of time can sometimes make a person forget that there are some things you have to let go. Forgiveness is the understanding of situations and realizing that they may not be as serious as it was thought to be before. Just from the title of the poem, Forgiving My Father, it could be perceived as a poem that focuses on forgiveness, yet it’s main focus is on the negative qualities of Clifton 's father, who appears to have been a poor patriarch to both his wife and daughter through his own irresponsibility....   [tags: Family, Mother, Forgiveness, Father]

Better Essays
1485 words (4.2 pages)

An Explication Of Forgiving My Father Essay

- An Explication of “forgiving my father” When I first read “Forgiving My Father,” by Lucille Clifton, I was confused about the meaning of the poem. I thought that it was going to be about her forgiving her father, but I never noticed her actually forgiving her father. By analyzing the overall message, the diction, and the structure of “forgiving my father,” I realized that she never did forgive her father. Although she tried to forgive him, there was too much hate, and eventually she walks away from his grave....   [tags: Poetry, Meaning of life, Rhyme, Stanza]

Better Essays
799 words (2.3 pages)

Cancer and Lucille Clifton's Poetry Essay

- Cancer and Lucille Clifton's Poetry Sometimes knowledge of someone’s life can be taught by stanzas. It is not always simple being honest and open to discuss past troubles, but it is important that those negative thoughts do not stay bottled inside you. Expressing these feelings can help aid in recovering. Lucille Clifton uses poetry as her therapy to bring out all the shadows in her life. From the beginning of her career with the publishing of Good News About the Earth in 1972 to the most recent addition, Mercy in 2004, we see how Clifton relies on her writing to capture her past....   [tags: Lucille Clifton poem Poet Poems Essays]

Better Essays
2762 words (7.9 pages)

Analysis Of ' Lucille Clifton ' Essay

- Lucille Clifton is a great poet, she made many great poems regarding to woman. Homage to My Hips is one of her famous creation that brought to many attention. Yet, instead of making a great poem about equality, what she made is a complete single sided opinion of oppressing men and putting women on top, and controlling others. As a conclusion, her poem are masked as an innocent woman’s body promotion, but the whole poem could be reread as a self-centered, manipulative sexism and hypocrisy promotion for extremist feminism....   [tags: Gender, Feminism, Sexism, Debut albums]

Better Essays
837 words (2.4 pages)

Essay on Poetry of Lucille Clifton

- According to Jocelyn Moody, the contemporary poet Lucille Clifton was born on June 27, 1936 in Depew, NY. She was very smart and always proved it ever since she was young. As result, she graduated very young, at the age of sixteen. As soon as she graduated she graduated she received a scholarship to attend Howard University located in Washington, D.C. Two years after, in 1955 she transferred to the Fredonia State Teachers College. She met Fred Clifton; he thought philosophy at the University of Buffalo....   [tags: Poetry]

Better Essays
1228 words (3.5 pages)

Essay about Lucile Clifton: Reflections of Triumph

- Lucille Clifton’s experiences as an African-American living in a town inhabited by mostly Caucasians affected her decisions and goals in life. Growing up in a world filled with racism and gender discrimination, Clifton challenged and overcame stereotypes about both blacks and women. Despite her early struggles, Clifton writes about her problems as she endeavors living to the fullest extent. As a child, Clifton remained thankful for her parents “gifts of poetry and storytelling” (Lupton 18). These experiences as an African-American living in an impoverished environment along with a lasting love for her community and family helped Clifton grow as a person and poet....   [tags: Poets]

Better Essays
2155 words (6.2 pages)

Quilting - Foxes in the Poetry of Lucille Clifton Essay example

- Quilting - Foxes in the Poetry of Lucille Clifton         In 1942 Virginia Woolf read a paper to the Women’s Service League about "The Angel in the House." For Woolf, this "Angel" represented the voice in the back of the mind of a woman that was saying, "Never let anybody guess that you have a mind of your own" (1346). During Woolf’s time a woman was not supposed to write critically. Rather, a woman was supposed to "be sympathetic; be tender; flatter; deceive; use all the arts and wiles of her sex." Woolf writes of the need to "kill" this angel....   [tags: Biography Biographies Essays]

Better Essays
1499 words (4.3 pages)

Essay about Quilting - The Feminist Dynamic of Lucille Clifton

- The Feminist Dynamic of Lucille Clifton     Quilting bees were occasions for women to gather bringing discarded scraps of material, which they masterfully transformed, into works of art. The bee was also a social gathering where women told tales, exchanged ideas, and encouraged one another. Lucille Clifton's collection of poetry entitled Quilting continues the wonderful tradition by skillfully bringing together poems that entertain, inform, and encourage. Two of Clifton's poems, "eve's version" and "a woman who loves," are excellent examples of the quilting process where material is re-worked to reveal a perspective that is female....   [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism]

Better Essays
1687 words (4.8 pages)

The Life and Times of Lucille Ball Essays

- The Life and Times of Lucille Ball "Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world." That quote was one that Lucille Ball lived by throughout her twisted and turbulent life. As one of the most recognized faces in the world, she is known to millions simply as Lucy. She went from waitress and salesgirl to model to Goldwyn Girl to radio clown to an unlikely leading lady in a ground-breaking sitcom that is still seen in regular syndicated reruns more than 40 years after the series ended....   [tags: Lucille Ball Lucy Biography]

Better Essays
1119 words (3.2 pages)