Literary Analysis : Native Guard

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Most struggles are silent, they go into our bank of memories and are used to shape each of us, voicing your most painful memories is more than laying your past for others to look at and examine. Voicing your most painful memories is opening yourself entirely, letting others look in. Natasha Trethewey uses her confusion and hurt that she experienced as pieces for an artwork that has yet to be painted. By writing Native Guard, Trethewey recreates herself like a disjointed collage. Using gut-wrenching poetry as her medium, she uses her words to represent a self portrait of her struggles, giving the reader a chance to realize Trethewey’s emotions during a time in which she had a difficulty realizing them for herself, thus helping the audience to project who they believe Trethewey to be. Instead of showing herself to the reader offhandedly, Trethewey uses her own complex emotions to establish intimacy with the audience, as if you experience her emotions as raw as she writes them. In her poem, “After Your Death,” Trethewey seems to walk you through her actions, “I found it half eaten, the other side / already rotting, or - like another I plucked / and split open - being taken from the inside,” (13). When you look at this at face value, it seems meaningless, monotonous, and something that shouldn’t be included in a poem about mourning, however Trethewey lets her emotions and thoughts seep through specific words of the poem. With phrases such as “rotting,” “split,” and “plucked” you can see a hidden aggressiveness that only shows itself after seeing how negative they sound with their hard consonants and uncomfortable imagery. The closer you read, the more you can see Trethewey’s emotions at hand. By creating this connection between the ... ... middle of paper ... ...ds herself lets the reader understand the author is not just a character of her own book, but that she is in every poem she writes, and finally while you read the last page, you can understand Trethewey on a human level. And this is what she wanted, she wanted to recreate herself over and over again throughout the collection so she could discover who she is with the readers, the journey is taken together. Overall, Natasha Trethewey’s Native Guard is written to take each reader on an adventure through her own reflections. While some books are used to let the reader change, this collection has the reader as a companion as they watch Trethewey transform through every poem and chapter. This kind of self-creation is cathartic for Trethewey, and helps her sift through complicated events and emotions to come about reborn, free of the hurt that had plagued her previously.
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