's Poem In 'Incident' By Natasha Trethewey

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Natasha Trethewey is one of the most successful African-American poets of the 21st century. Society has appreciated her interest and knowledge for literature especially in poetry, Trethewey have won several awards such as Pulitzer Prize in 2007 being her first, and winning many more thereafter; Trethewey was named Georgia woman of the year following year in 2008. Her biracial life started back in the 1966 when Trethewey was born in mixed-raced family in Gulfport, Mississippi; her white father Eric Terthewey is from Canada and her mother Gwendolyn Ann Turnbough was African-American. In Mississippi, people of different races could not legally be married to each other, therefor; she spends most of her childhood in such a racism circumstances and…show more content…
In first line of opening stanza Trethewey states, “We tell the story every year” (1). This refers to an important event that occurred in her childhood that seems impossible to forget for her and her family. For this reason, she wants to share her experience and the lesson she learned from this. She does not want someone who comes from mixed family have to suffer similar events as she did because of her different race. She tries to teach future generation to fight back against crime by repeating the story over and over for years. Furthermore, in poem she mentions “the charred grass now green again/the charred grass still green” (4-7). This indicates that when members of Ku Klux Klan came and burned the cross in her front yard, which left the spot of parched grass is alive once again. But the people in society have not changed and look at her and her family as they were before, because of the race and illegal marriage of her parents. Not only that but also other African-American were abused by Americans as well. In an interview with Bookslut, Trethewey said “…many times the African-Americans soldiers were abused, and even killed, by their fellow white soldiers…” (“Natasha”). There were many…show more content…
In third stanza Trethewey cries, “At the cross trussed like a Christmas tree” (9). Trethewey tries to give us reader an important visual image of a cross burning that she saw as a little child from a window by comparing with Christmas tree to understand the situation of her back in time. In addition, she also cries, “a few man gathered, white as angels in their gowns” (10). This implies the innocent view of Trethewey as a child. The white men in gown refers to those member of the Ku Klux Klan, who were standing in her front lawn wearing their customary white outfit. Little girl assumes that those men in white are sent by God, therefore, she links them with an angel. This stanza shows a faith and hope for little girl with new understanding of world who born in mixed race family and living in racist area, such a Mississippi during that time and suffering with a lifestyle because she was mixed. This has an impact on all her poems that comes from Native Guard. As Trethewey says, “I think I always understood myself as somehow a part of history. My understanding had to do with my very existence” (qtd. in

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