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jasper texas 1998

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jasper texas 1998

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Mar 30
C Franz (Mar 30 2020 2:15PM) : For background info on the premise for the poem, check out the story: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_James_Byrd_Jr.
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BY LUCILLE CLIFTON

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Apr 1
Hugh Gaston (Apr 01 2020 9:52PM) : Clifton's motivation as an author as opposed to the resignation (despair, perhaps?) of those who question if there will ever be true change. more

I found it interesting that in Clifton’s biography she says that “writing is a way of continuing to hope … perhaps for me it is a way of remembering I am not alone.” Prose and poetry appear to be a way to sustain her hope that someday “we shall overcome” as mentioned in line three of the third stanza. Certainly, in the context of this poem, the author (Clifton) has hope but the speaker (Byrd) represents those who are losing or have lost hope that things will ever truly change. People have been singing “we shall overcome” for several hundred years but that goal, sadly, always seems out of reach.

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Apr 2
C Franz (Apr 02 2020 12:48PM) : Thanks for joining us, Mr. Gaston! I also agree that while Byrd's tone is one of despondency and resignation, Clifton still chooses to write about his tragic murder. She is clearly not "done."
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for j. byrd

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Apr 2
Ms Isabelle Emerson (Apr 02 2020 10:49AM) : Clifton wrote this short poem with many complex part relating to the murder of this man by a racism. [Edited] more

She does this by the repeating of “I”, almost as if she was the voice of the murder man. Which makes the dedication of this poem interesting because she writing as the man but also giving the poem to the man who didn’t have a voice in the say of what happen to him.

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Apr 2
C Franz (Apr 02 2020 12:43PM) : This "voice" is so critical in the black American women's literary canon. Is Clifton empowering Byrd by giving him voice? Or does the imagery and tone suggest a lack of empowerment? The speaker is an object (a head). Can he/it be empowered by another?
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Apr 2
Luke Hilliard (Apr 02 2020 1:40PM) : While the head in a literal sense may not be empowered, it symbolizes a widespread struggle for empowerment. I believe Clifton was able to give support to a person and object that had none in that present time. Even after the horrible deed was done.
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Apr 2
Autumn Johnson (Apr 02 2020 3:53PM) : I feel that since Clifton used the word "I" she was able to give Byrd a voice and allow the unfairness that was brought to him be known, however it could be taken as unempowering due to the fact that what she thinks might be his thoughts are used instead. more

By using her own thoughts of what she might have said in this situation, she is covering up his voice.

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Apr 2
C Franz (Apr 02 2020 6:30PM) : Isn't this what happens to any under-represented groups in the history of literature? Perfectly expressed, Autumn!
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i am a man's head hunched in the road.
i was chosen to speak by the members
of my body. the arm as it pulled away
pointed toward me, the hand opened once
and was gone.

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Apr 2
Luke Hilliard (Apr 02 2020 1:36PM) : I am unaware if anyone brought this to attention yet, however the way she doesn’t capitalize goes to show her style of writing described by the biography attached. The “Understatement” by doing so allows for her to say more with less words and emphasis. more

I am unaware if anyone brought this to attention yet, however the way she doesn’t capitalize goes to show her style of writing described by the biography attached. The “Understatement” by doing so allows for her to say more with less words and emphasis. I feel as if this syntax is intentional and adds complexity to her writing.

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Apr 2
C Franz (Apr 02 2020 6:31PM) : Excellent, Luke! This is also a common technique of the Modernist poets, if you recall.
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Apr 3
The One and Only Pablito Schulz (Apr 03 2020 4:58PM) : This first stanza, to me, is symbolic of Byrds struggle to keep his head off the ground during his gruesome murder. The members of his body (or black community) elected his head (J. Byrd) to represent the battle against white supremacy.
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Apr 4
C Franz (Apr 04 2020 6:59PM) : Yes. She does an amazingly graphic job of contrasting the violence of the murder of Byrd with the "civilized" social structure of Democracy in our society.
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Mar 30
Azalea Torres (Mar 30 2020 12:52PM) : His body part are personified as a part of a "member" of almost a council like party that has a say in who they choose to speak for them.
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Mar 30
C Franz (Mar 30 2020 6:05PM) : Nice! What does this suggest about power and representation?
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Mar 31
Lindsay Cunningham (Mar 31 2020 10:35AM) : Even though the speaker is only the man's head, the first stanza shows he is speaking for the whole body, not just the one part. This could be symbolic, as it could represent how James Byrd, one individual, is speaking for the entire black community.
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Apr 2
Autumn Johnson (Apr 02 2020 3:55PM) : I thought that by only using his head as the speaker, in the description of his arm/hand getting cut off could potentially be a metaphor for his rights being cut away from him.
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Apr 2
Lauren Prellwitz (Apr 02 2020 12:31PM) : The head seems to be speaking for the ugliness of the act committed. [Edited]
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Apr 2
C Franz (Apr 02 2020 12:44PM) : Excellent. Morbid imagery of talking head definitely represents the ugliness of the hate crime.
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why and why and why
should i call a white man brother?
who is the human in this place,
the thing that is dragged or the dragger?
what does my daughter say?

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Mar 30
Lindsay Cunningham (Mar 30 2020 10:47PM) : The structure of this stanza is unique because every other line begins a new question, with a different question word (Why, who, and what). This shows the extent of the speaker's confusion and the different angles of it.
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Apr 2
Lauren Prellwitz (Apr 02 2020 12:33PM) : The questions really bring out an agitated and confused tone in the stanza.
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Apr 2
Aleksandar Bjelich (Apr 02 2020 8:36PM) : the question of the dragged or the dragger is interesting, because it asks what makes us human. Is it the ones who commit atrocities that only humans are capable of, or is it the victim that shows humanity through suppression of primal urges/tendencies?
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Apr 3
The One and Only Pablito Schulz (Apr 03 2020 5:01PM) : Further, repetition of why and rhetorical questions reinforce the inability to understand such a hate crime both for Byrd and the rest of the African American society.
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Mar 30
Isaac Duerr (Mar 30 2020 3:18PM) : The repetition of the question why, and the second stanza itself, conveys a similar tone to the tone of the overall piece. The tone does differ however from a tone of anger at life and himself to a tone of anger and distaste for the white man.
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Apr 1
Maura Alvarez (Apr 01 2020 12:29PM) : The repetition of the word "why" indicates a bothered tone, which reveals the narrator's frustration with the white man's lack of humanity.
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Mar 30
Azalea Torres (Mar 30 2020 1:02PM) : The point is view is most likely an African American because when the poet says "white man brother" it indicates that he doesn't understand why they should call each other brother's when they aren't the same "color"
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Apr 2
Riley Hess (Apr 02 2020 6:02PM) : The author could be asking why should they call a white men their brother when the white men continue to hold prejudice and commit acts like this.
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Apr 2
Meghan Frank (Apr 02 2020 8:58PM) : The comment of "should I call a white man brother?" moves the reader. In a way that the African culture uses this term to unify them together as a family as a race, to give this almost rhetorical question that this is why we can't unite [Edited] more

together as both white and African American cultures.

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Apr 3
C Franz (Apr 03 2020 1:24PM) : Great insight, Meghan!
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Apr 2
Riley Hess (Apr 02 2020 6:18PM) : This can be viewed significant in the way that it is criticizing both the people who commit the acts and those who want to look pass those acts and be "brothers". [Edited]
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Apr 2
C Franz (Apr 02 2020 6:33PM) : Interesting, Riley! Do you think there is ultimately criticism of both sides in this case?
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Apr 3
Rachael Oehlert (Apr 03 2020 8:52PM) : This line expresses the acts of the hate crime as inhumane. By asking the question of "who is the human," it brings the significance of comparing the crime to an act an animal would perform, rather than someone he should consider a "brother".
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Apr 3
Evelyn Rozenkvit (Apr 03 2020 5:50PM) : The question asking who is the human is very significant in the context of the piece more

because so many of the people who were “dragger[s]” were not criticized at the time and the ones “dragged” were belittled and not necessarily viewed as human. The writer makes it a point to ask which side of the argument is really human here?

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Apr 4
C Franz (Apr 04 2020 7:09PM) : Evelyn and Rachael, I also like how she contrasts the words "human" and "thing" in lines 3 and 4 of the second stanza. "Thing" questions objectifying Byrd's body vs. those who dragged him. She then answers the question in the final line of the stanza by more

posing another question and pointing to Byrd’s humanity because he has a daughter.

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Apr 2
Autumn Johnson (Apr 02 2020 3:57PM) : By including that he has a daughter and that she would also be stunned and hurt by this, it adds a different level of pathos to the poem; it shows that Byrd was not the only one hurt but also the African American community as a whole.
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Apr 2
Meghan Frank (Apr 02 2020 9:09PM) : This also moves the emotion in the piece. It shows the daughter and further generations of the African American culture are going to have a hard time overcoming these acts and move forward. It is going to continue the hurt and worries of the community. [Edited] more

It also shows everyone has a family they love and care for and who they are going to miss so much because of these events. It slows the progress.

the sun is a blister overhead.
if i were alive i could not bear it.
the townsfolk sing we shall overcome
while hope bleeds slowly from my mouth
into the dirt that covers us all.
i am done with this dust. i am done.

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Apr 2
Aleksandar Bjelich (Apr 02 2020 8:22PM) : "hope bleeds slowly" is likely a metaphor for his literal blood as a symbol of unification of all. As he bleeds dead, so too is dying the hope of people truly being united under a single banner of humanity.
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Apr 3
C Franz (Apr 03 2020 1:25PM) : Perfectly stated, Aleks.
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Mar 30
Azalea Torres (Mar 30 2020 1:04PM) : The significance of saying that "the sun is a blister overhead" is making it seem like the sun is almost like it's painful or causing pain to them.
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Apr 3
Evelyn Rozenkvit (Apr 03 2020 5:40PM) : The diction of almost personifying the sun giving it a scar a person would get makes it come to life and it expresses the pain the sun struck upon them.
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Mar 30
Isaac Duerr (Mar 30 2020 2:52PM) : The line "if i were alive i could not bear it." Shows an interesting point of view as it is written by Lucille Clifton but from the perspective as a dead James Byrd. Allowing us to understand more about the context of the previous stanzas
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Mar 30
C Franz (Mar 30 2020 6:04PM) : EXCELLENT recognition of the difference between the poet and the speaker! NEVER assume the speaker is the poet. Here, Clifton indicates in line one that the speaker is "a man's head."
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Apr 2
Meghan Frank (Apr 02 2020 9:17PM) : This also gives emotion to the piece showing from Byrd's point of view that if he was still alive he couldn't stand the situation at hand. The racial injustice and intolerance that people and especially the people that took apart of in this act.
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Apr 2
Riley Hess (Apr 02 2020 6:09PM) : The idea of the townsfolk singing about overcoming can be seen in a way in today's society in which hate crimes and murder happen, people try to call for change of the problem but it is often forgotten and the problem goes on with little to no change.
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Apr 1
Maura Alvarez (Apr 01 2020 12:47PM) : The imagery given by the words "hope bleeds slowly" creates a sense of defeat which reveals itself more as the poem goes on.
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Apr 2
Autumn Johnson (Apr 02 2020 3:59PM) : Is this sentence showing that he hopes the sacrifice of his life might bring light to the crimes that are being committed and that his bloodshed may be the thing needed to give people hope that it will soon be over?
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Apr 3
Evelyn Rozenkvit (Apr 03 2020 5:42PM) : Connecting the word "hope" with "bleeds" expresses the tone of misery and defeat that Maura also mentioned. The imagery of the blood of hope "slowly" coming from the mouth adds to the gory tone of the poem and just how painful life was to live.
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Apr 7
Madalyn Schilling (Apr 07 2020 12:35AM) : This sentence is the only sentence in the stanza that doesn't completely end, including a period, making it sort of an enjambment. This allows Clifton to emphasize the importance overall and show the reason she wrote it being, hope isn't enough.
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Apr 9
C Franz (Apr 09 2020 12:38PM) : Hope isn't enough. Well stated, Maddie!
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Apr 1
Maura Alvarez (Apr 01 2020 1:04PM) : The narrator hints at the idea of being buried in order to address human violence and racial intolerance.
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Apr 1
C Franz (Apr 01 2020 8:53PM) : Excellent insight, Maura!
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Apr 3
The One and Only Pablito Schulz (Apr 03 2020 5:03PM) : Attitude that blacks and whites alike are all one day destined to share in death.
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Mar 30
Isaac Duerr (Mar 30 2020 4:12PM) : The punctuation in the last sentence shows not only the perspective being James Byrd's. But also shows the respect Lucille Clifton shows him with this poem.
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Mar 31
Lindsay Cunningham (Mar 31 2020 10:29AM) : The fact that the poet uses a period instead of an exclamation point or other punctuation also could show the speaker's feelings of submission or defeat.
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Apr 2
C Franz (Apr 02 2020 12:39PM) : These final two sentences are interesting to me. If we assume these words still belong to the speaker, then Byrd is leaving this world of hatred, racism, and despondency. Is it possible these words are Clifton's? She's done with the hatred, racism, and more

despondency? Is it possible she’s asserting a tone of empowerment? She’s done. She’s rising above. She is pushing back against the “dust.”

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Apr 2
Luke Hilliard (Apr 02 2020 1:43PM) : Most poets would likely write much longer to make the points that Clifton made. The way she writes in a lower tone of removal, the intentional lack of capitalization and the very short poem again show that she can send a bigger message with less words.

DMU Timestamp: March 26, 2020 18:18

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Apr 2
Aleksandar Bjelich (Apr 02 2020 8:18PM) : The lack of capitalization throughout the piece, in my opinion, stands to act as nearly a pleading device; as a way to show how draining we humans are, that "he" doesn't even bother using the energy to capitalize his words. [Edited]
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