Poetry Analysis: Persimmons Essay
“See through. ” Surely. most people have experienced this feeling earlier. the feelings of being seen. but non genuinely “seen. ” As if every portion of their being. their roots. their civilization. and history meant nil and holds no value to anyone but themselves. merely as the talker is raised in a bi-lingual. bi-culture atmosphere although most of us may be forgotten throughout our life-time from day-to-day brushs or short footings relationships ; semester long schoolmates and professors. the verse form “Persimmons” by Li-Young Lee reveals to us with his brilliant usage of imagination. symbolism. and other literary devices. emotions so frozen. that they about escape words.
In the verse form. the world revealed is that we will someday melt away from people and this universe. But that the true beauty lies during the events in our lives and until the coda. we are the 1s to keep the sweet. mature “Persimmon. ” a sacred and distinguishable “sun inside [ each of us ] … aureate [ and ] warm. ” Li-Young Lee implements imagination and symbolism to underscore the metabolism of the early life of the battles of societal arrangement of a immature American Chinese male child to the deep passions of a immature adult male. “Persimmons” teach us that even if we may travel blind. merely like the talkers father in the verse form. it comes to demo that our experiences of life. that despite non everyone will appreciate. or understand to the full. that it is something that will forever stay engraved in our psyches.
At foremost the verse form starts out a spot scattered. There were several pieces that did non look to follow the clip and significance. but while apparently scattered. his memories do in fact connect in several ways. As one specific device. most of his remembrances involve the symbol of the Chinese fruit. persimmons. The verse form begins with an unpleasant memory from the speaker’s 6th class schoolroom where he recalls being slapped on the caput and ordered to “stand in the corner for non cognizing the difference/between [ the words ] persimmon and precision” ( 3-5 ) . Right at that minute the speaker’s attitude is that of confusion. In the first stanza. we learn that Mrs. Walker was the speaker’s instructor in 6th class:
In 6th class Mrs. Walker
Slapped the dorsum of my caput
and made me stand in the corner
for non cognizing the difference
between persimmon and preciseness.
How to take persimmons. This is preciseness. ( 1-6 )
To Mrs. Walker. the point is simple ; the immature male child. whose native linguistic communication is Chinese. merely can non achieve and hold on the elements of English. Clearly he confuses the words that are seen from Mrs. Walker’s point of position to hold nil in common. but possibly merely holds similar sounds and that is all. But in the boy’s head. the two words are connected in a manner that Mrs. Walker will ne’er hold on without diging deep. A peculiar literary device that Lee uses is the pick of enjambement at the word “choose. ” ( 6 ) which breaks the first stanza and draws attending to the act of choice. and the procedure of doing picks. Although in the first stanza it is seen that the talker. as a kid and as a pupil is stripped from the power to take in the procedure and codifications of the incident of his schoolroom assimilation. he regains power by warranting his lingual conflations of the words “persimmon and preciseness. ” ( 5 ) by linking the words through their similar sounds and by symbolic association: “How to choose/ persimmons. This is precision” ( 6– 7 ) and “fight and fright. Wrens and yarn” ( 31 ) .
While warranting the runing pot of his words. he besides re-claims control by showing his bid of the English linguistic communication. In the 2nd stanza. nevertheless. Lee elaborates on the right manner of carefully choosing and eating a persimmon. and along with that it is affirmed that the talker does in fact know the difference between the two words. The talker reveals his apprehension of “precision” in the enunciation being used by Lee to depict how to pick out and eat a persimmon ; the words “soft. ” “sweet. ” “sniff. ” and “brown-spotted. are given to the fruit qualifying it and exceeding the physical sense of the Chinese fruit and transforming it into an of import component. and symbol. Whereas the character of Mrs. Walker would fall in the class of the “teachers” that one may run into throughout life. It can be anyone: from a school instructor. a semester –long college equal. a random looker-on. or society itself. However. these “teachers” non justice one’s personality. but are besides nescient. In defined footings ; a individual may be treated as a sheep. when in fact. they are the 1s fenced in. non able to make. see or experience farther ; they do non trouble oneself to study into the deep and puzzling Waterss of people. Self. and emotions. in this instance. the boy’s head. The instructor is non cognizant that his head is full of different universes ; the universe or emotions. and his rich civilization. The lone thing they perceive is that the male child may hold a job ; that the male child has problem with words. which in a manner he does. but for him. the words that tend to “stick out of the page” for him are because of the assimilations that they induce:
Ripe 1s are soft and brown-spotted.
Sniff the undersides. The sweet 1
Will be fragrant. How to eat:
Put the knife off. put down the newspaper.
Skin the tegument tenderly. non to rupture the meat.
Chew the tegument. suck it. and swallow. Now. eat the meat of the fruit. so sweet. all of it. to the bosom.
Can Mrs. Walker and anyone belonging to this matter-of-fact universe even care to conceive of the universe within him? To the talker a persimmon is preciseness. because one needs the ability of comprehending a precise persimmon and the persimmon itself is preciseness by its being ; a soft fruit. the form. the odor of a mature one is an art ; non everyone has the endowment to descry one and the proper cognition of how to eat one. merely like Mrs. Walker falsely prepares the persimmons for the category. as she uses a knife to “cut it up” ( 41 ) as if she were “cutting up” this demonstrates her misdemeanor of the Chinese civilization of the talker.
The verse form takes on a dramatic bend at the 3rd stanza. where the talker fast forwards through clip. Here the talker describes the minute of a passionate experience with his lover. Here by Lee’s usage of symbolism and contrasting word pick is important because of specific clip and topographic point it is being used. In this minute. the talker has forgotten his Chinese. this could stand for the past jobs of assimilation to hold faded in the facet of the victory over the English linguistic communication. Although he has possibly gained social credence as an Asiatic American. he has besides soberly lost. where his loss out wins his addition ; the loss of his native linguistic communication. the loss of his civilization. As a 2nd reading would be that when the talker forgets about the “Dew” and the fact that they are “Naked. ” but recalls the “Crickets: chiu chiu” and that “Ni. wo: [ means ] you and me” represents his entire fascination in the minute. the minute when two lovers unite. making a brotherhood. one possibly forgets that fact of nudity. because possibly in that beautiful minute. one does non experience naked. because their important other is at that place. and they are all they need to experience covered. a minute were all barriers are broken. both feel free comfortable in the bleakness. where he even forgets the background sound playing.
By the usage of symbolism. it is known that “Persimmon” is the chief symbol. and so acts as a metaphor of the love scene. concentrating on the passionate experience that marks the talker for life. In the 9th stanza. a new scene is present and there is another displacement in clip. this clip the talker is a mature grownup. sing his parents. but besides revisiting old memories. that arouse ancient feelings. In this peculiar stanza. Lee’s usage of graphic imagination is openly present. where he describes the talkers elderly male parent who has gone blind:
I rummage. looking
for something I lost… .
I find a box… .
three pictures by my male parent:
Hibiscus foliage and a white flower.
Two cats pluming.
Two persimmons. so full they want to drop from the fabric.
… . Which is this?
… . Oh. the feel of the wolf tail on the silk. the strength. the tense preciseness in the wrist… .
Eyess closed. These I painted blind.
Some things ne’er leave a individual:
Aroma of the hair of one you love.
The texture of persimmons. in your thenar. the mature weight. ( 62-88 ) . Lee’s usage of concrete inside informations allows has a great impact and consequence on this peculiar verse form. because it draws the reader in. leting them to prosecute and go more attune to the feelings the poet is seeking to convey: the sight of the Hibiscus. the motions of the “cat’s preening” ( 75 ) . Although the speaker’s male parent has lost his seeing. he can still “see” the universe. When a individual goes blind. they are shut out from the universe. but the thing that stays with the individual transcends the sense of vision ; the odor. the texture. the weight of the persimmon that the male parent speaks of that will “never go forth a individual. ” ( 85 ) that the feel of a mature persimmon in the thenar will stay a portion of you. merely like the talkers civilization. his memories and experiences. This could besides stand for an of import displacement in the verse form tone. in that the talkers eventually accepts his civilization or art of reminiscing of familiar emotions. both like being “back place. ”
His experiences. although non wholly positive. have helped him turn into the adult male he is now. Li-Young Lee. by utilizing centripetal imagination and “precise” enunciation along with the informal stanza construction. reveals to the reader that. despite the talkers his bi-cultural yesteryear. he has now realized. through his experiences. that some of the most of import things will non ever be “visible” and he is at peace with his civilization. The obscureness of words that Lee demonstrates in this verse form correlates with the obscure and that of which is non accepted in our mercenary. and practical universe. But the bitter-sweet sarcasm of it all is that at times. every bit shortly as something like a fantastic feeling or idea is put into words. its mystical beauty may decrease. This verse form is non merely a ego contained piece of poesy. It is art. a ticket to see. informant. and experience between our and the poet’s interior universe. Li-Young Lee. cognizing that words can non straight show these feelings ; he uses his poesy as a tool to arouse such feelings in us using the informal poetic signifier and the advantage of symbolism and imagination. has allowed us to visualize elaborate. graphic scenes to demo us how superficial and apathetic the universe around us can be to the in secret huge. and passionate universe in each of us.
Dmitry. Divov. “Analysis of Persimmons by Li-Young Lee. ” Web. 25 Feb 2012. .