I am fourteen and my skin has betrayed me the boy I cannot live without still sucks his thumb in secret how come my knees are always so ashy what if i die before morning and momma’s in the bedroom with the door closed.
Lorde uses some interesting literary techniques in this poem that really caught my attention. Lorde writes “and momma’s in the bedroom with the door closed.” at the end of every stanza. This line can probably be interpreted in many ways, but the way I analyze it is that the poem is all about the struggles of adolescence and all the worrying that teens do, so this line is the poet's way of saying that she as a teenager has all these worries about life and death and her mom has no idea that she is so stressed. I could really connect with this because being a teenager myself, often times parents don’t understand how much worrying and stress their kids are going through. Often teens feel isolated and alone, and Lorde captured the essence of that very well by having that line at the end of every stanza. Another interesting literary technique that Lorde uses in this poem in her line structure, she uses short and choppy lines, these choppy lines really capture the distress and panic the poem portrays. One line in particular that stands out to me is in the third stanza, “Why do I have to be”. It is interesting that this line break is placed where it is because it adds a meaning that wouldn’t be seen if there was no line break, “Why do I have to be” can be interpreted as why does the narrator have to be the way she is, this relates back to the insecurities and worries of teenage life. That line break in particular stood out to me is also in the third stanza it reads, “the one”. This line breaks really speaks to me because often times I think teenagers single themselves out and feel as if they are outliers in society, adding to insecurities of adolescent life.
I have to learn how to dance in time for the next party my room is too small for me suppose I die before graduation they will sing sad melodies but finally tell the truth about me
There is nothing I want to do and too much has to be done and momma’s in the bedroom with the door closed.
Nobody even stops to think about my side of it should have been on Math Team my marks were better than his why do I have to be the one wearing braces
I have nothing to wear tomorrow will I live long enough to grow up and momma’s in the bedroom with the door closed
As everyone knows when you are stressed or having a “panic attack” hundreds of things could be running through your head at one time. The short choppy lines that Lorde used for a literary technique really capture the panic and worrying in my opinion. Lorde (1934-1992) was a self-described black radical feminist and civil rights activist. Like many poets of her time, her writings reflect her views. This can be seen clearly in “Hanging Fire”, for example, in the first stanza, the second line says “and my skin has betrayed me”, Lorde being a civil rights activist is making a reference to all the racial discrimination of the time period. Also this line connected with me in a unexpected way, I believe it is clear now that skin color does not matter