Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Letter To My Sister By Anne Spencer “Let me learn now where Beauty is; I was born to know her mysteries...”

Similar presentations


Presentation on theme: "Letter To My Sister By Anne Spencer “Let me learn now where Beauty is; I was born to know her mysteries...”"— Presentation transcript:

1 Letter To My Sister By Anne Spencer “Let me learn now where Beauty is; I was born to know her mysteries...”

2 Anne Spencer: The Voice of an Age Anne Bethel Spencer-originally Annie Bethel Bannister- was born in 1882 in Henry Country, Virginia. After an early parental separation, she was taken care of by a prominent man in the black community at the time, William T. Dixie. One of the founders of the Harlem Renaissance Movement, James Weldon Johnson, discovered Bannister’s gift for poetry and also gave her the pen name Spencer. She was won of the prominent figures of the Harlem Renaissance and the New Negro Movement of the early 1900’s. In addition to being the first Virginian poet to have her work published in the Norton Anthology of American Poetry, she was also the first African American. She died in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1975.

3 The Inspiration African American’s such as James Weldon Johnson and W.E.B Dubois were regular visitors at the Spencer household. Discussed everything from politics to current events. Others, like Marian Anderson and Langston Hughes as well as members from the NAACP, influenced Spencer. She was also an inspiration to many. The theologian Howard Thurman was so impressed with Spencer’s life and legacy, that he named his daughter after the poet.

4 Letter To My Sister It is dangerous for a woman to defy the gods; To taunt them with the tongue's thin tip, Or strut in the weakness of mere humanity, Or draw a line daring them to cross; The gods own the searing lightning, The drowning waters, tormenting fears And anger of red sins.

5 Letter To My Sister Oh, but worse still if you mince timidly-- Dodge this way or that, or kneel or pray, Be kind, or sweat agony drops Or lay your quick body over your feeble young; If you have beauty or none, if celibate Or vowed--the gods are Juggernaut, Passing over... over...

6 Letter To My Sister This you may do: Lock your heart, then, quietly, And lest they peer within, Light no lamp when dark comes down Raise no shade for sun; Breathless must your breath come through If you'd die and dare deny The gods their god-like fun.

7 A Letter to My Sister: Read By Samuel Stevens It is dangerous for a woman to defy the gods; To taunt them with the tongue's thin tip, Or strut in the weakness of mere humanity, Or draw a line daring them to cross; The gods own the searing lightning, The drowning waters, tormenting fears And anger of red sins.

8 Letter To Samuel Stevens Oh, but worse still if you mince timidly-- Dodge this way or that, or kneel or pray, Be kind, or sweat agony drops Or lay your quick body over your feeble young; If you have beauty or none, if celibate Or vowed--the gods are Juggernaut, Passing over... over...

9 Thank You My Friend. This you may do: Lock your heart, then, quietly, And lest they peer within, Light no lamp when dark comes down Raise no shade for sun; Breathless must your breath come through If you'd die and dare deny The gods their god-like fun.

10 Organization of the Poem 3 Stanzas Each stanza is one sentence. This could signify a breakup of three individual lessons or teachings that Spencer wants to express to her audience. This is a free verse poem with no rhyme scheme. (When one thinks free verse, they may think “easy”. In the next slide, we will see the complexities of the poem)

11 The Poem and It’s Complexities It is dangerous for a woman to defy the gods; To taunt them with the tongue's thin tip, Or strut in the weakness of mere humanity, Or draw a line daring them to cross; The gods own the searing lightning, The drowning waters, tormenting fears And anger of red sins. Oh, but worse still if you mince timidly-- Dodge this way or that, or kneel or pray, Be kind, or sweat agony drops Or lay your quick body over your feeble young; If you have beauty or none, if celibate Or vowed--the gods are Juggernaut, Passing over... over... This you may do: Lock your heart, then, quietly, And lest they peer within, Light no lamp when dark comes down Raise no shade for sun; Breathless must your breath come through If you'd die and dare deny The gods their god-like fun.

12 Diction and Syntax Understandable language. Use of alliteration. “light” and “lamp”, “taunt” and “tongues” Two words are prominent in this poem: “Mince” and “Juggernaut” Mince is a word not used in the English language today. It means, to restrain. Juggernaut is a religious reference. A fierce archaic god.

13 The Speaker Easily distinguished as a female An avid feminist and a voice for all women. Actually, in the poem, the title, “A Letter to My Sister” is not meant to be literal. It can be translated as “A Letter to My Fellow Woman and Friend”. The word “sister” is meant to convey the bond that females share. Spencer constructs her speaker as strong and resilient against the “Gods”.

14 The Attitude of the Speaker and her Views on the Situation That She is In The poem begins with the speaker explaining that men (who are the “Gods”) are dangerous to defy or stand up against. She then goes on (in the 2 nd stanza) to tell her fellow “sisters” that they cannot whimper in fear at the sight of men, or let them have control over the female life. She ends her poem by urging the woman to stand strong. While not necessarily provoking the man into conflict, the speaker is telling her sisters never to “fall into the man’s trap”, so to speak.

15 The Parts of the Poem It is dangerous for a woman to defy the gods; To taunt them with the tongue's thin tip, Or strut in the weakness of mere humanity, Or draw a line daring them to cross; The gods own the searing lightning, The drowning waters, tormenting fears And anger of red sins. Part 1: The speaker is warning her audience that man controls all and defying “the gods” could be detrimental.

16 Parts of the Poem Oh, but worse still if you mince timidly-- Dodge this way or that, or kneel or pray, Be kind, or sweat agony drops Or lay your quick body over your feeble young; If you have beauty or none, if celibate Or vowed--the gods are Juggernaut, Passing over... over... Part 2: As the poem progresses it becomes a teaching for all females. In this middle section, the speaker is reminding her sister(s) that fear and intimidation is not the way to live, while the “juggernauts” are forever looming. The ellipsis at the end of the section indicates this eternal looming.

17 Parts of the Poem This you may do: Lock your heart, then, quietly, And lest they peer within, Light no lamp when dark comes down Raise no shade for sun; Breathless must your breath come through If you'd die and dare deny The gods their god-like fun. Part 3: The speakers teachings are prominent in this third stanza. She tells her fellow female to never be intimidated or influenced by the opposite sex. Here, the speaker is not trying to deny that men are powerful. She is only saying that women should never “humor” them by giving in.

18 Imagery and Symbolism The gods Referring to the ancient gods. Recall the Iliad. The gods in this epic have total control, much like the men described in this poem. Juggernaut Derived from Sanskrit Jagannatha, which means “Lord of the Universe”. This further emphasizes the man’s power in the universe. Try thinking of Juggernaut from X-Men. This is the kind of man Spencer is describing. Men owning The Searing Lightning and drowning waters. A reference to Zeus and Triton.

19 Conclusions “A Letter to My Sister” is unarguably a feminist piece of art. Anne Spencer portrays men as a sort of super power that cannot be stopped. She tells her sisters that, though they cannot stop “the Gods”, they can prevent them from having their “God-like fun” (whether that be a sexual reference or not). Essentially, this poem is a warning to women. The speaker could be expressing a warning of marriage or sex, or a warning of the domineering nature of males.

20 The Poem It is dangerous for a woman to defy the gods; To taunt them with the tongue's thin tip, Or strut in the weakness of mere humanity, Or draw a line daring them to cross; The gods own the searing lightning, The drowning waters, tormenting fears And anger of red sins. Oh, but worse still if you mince timidly-- Dodge this way or that, or kneel or pray, Be kind, or sweat agony drops Or lay your quick body over your feeble young; If you have beauty or none, if celibate Or vowed--the gods are Juggernaut, Passing over... over... This you may do: Lock your heart, then, quietly, And lest they peer within, Light no lamp when dark comes down Raise no shade for sun; Breathless must your breath come through If you'd die and dare deny The gods their god-like fun.


Download ppt "Letter To My Sister By Anne Spencer “Let me learn now where Beauty is; I was born to know her mysteries...”"

Similar presentations


Ads by Google