History Lesson Poem Analysis

Words: 992
Pages: 4

Both poets write about meaningful happenings throughout their lifetime, providing the reader with insight and creating awareness of about a past filled with disappointment and regret, the world’s racist history. History Lesson, written by mixed American poet Natasha Tretheway, and Racism, written by indigenous Australian poet Oodgeroo Noonuccal, both expose the reader to their beliefs and ideas about how racism has impacted not only their lives but the world itself.

In Tretheway’s History Lesson, the title tells exactly what the subject of the poem is, a history lesson. Tretheway reminisces an event in her life where she is standing on a beach, then transitions back into history, comparing her time on the beach to her grandmother’s time on that same beach. Tretheway’s first two stanzas present imagery to provide a picture of the
…show more content…
Her enjambment not only continues over lines, yet also over stanzas as well.

“...I am alone except for my grandmother, other side

of the camera, telling me how to pose”

Similar to History Lesson is another poem about a dark time of racism, written by indigenous Australian poet Oodgeroo Noonuccal, titled Racism. The use of enjambment is clear in History Lesson, as too in Racism, as the poets seek to slow down the tone of the poem to create an emphasis on certain lines.

“Black frustrated minds
Scream for release
From Christian racist moulds.”

This extract from the first stanza displays Noonuccal’s use of enjambment, creating emphasis on the finals words she also makes the reader wonder and question what will happen next. With “Scream for release” on a single line it provides emphasis on the line itself, yet also the reader wants to know what is next, what are they screaming for release