The Youngest Daughter Essay

Words: 1130
Pages: 5

Autumn Gordon
Dr. Green
Writing about Literature
3 June 2012
The theme of Cathy Song’s “The Youngest Daughter” is about the youngest daughter of six growing old along with her mother. The title on the poem is also ironic because Song uses imagery to show that the daughter is no longer young. Song also uses using imagery daughter’s skin tone lacking sunlight to symbolize the isolation the daughter has because she is caring for her mother. The mother and daughter have a co-dependent relationship with each other, even though the daughter resents caring for her sickly mother for so many years. The daughter is extremely unhappy to the point of it causing her pain, because her life is consumed with caring for
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The resentment of caring for her mother is also exhibited when she is bathing her. She “scrubbed them with a sour taste in my mouth” referring to her mother’s breast, this shows the discomfort she has amid bathing her mother (Song 26-27). The speaker expresses that she “was almost tender when it came to the blue bruises”, “places where she has been injecting insulin”, she shows signs of being immune to caring for her mother(Song 30,32- 33). She is not gentle, because she resents caring for her. The daughter has lost sympathy for her mother’s illness, because she has been sick “for thirty years”; this is why she is not gentle while bathing her mother (Song 34). The mother is aware of the daughter’s resentment towards caring for her which is shown when the speaker states, “she knows I am not to be trusted”, “even now I am planning my escape” (Song 44-45). The mother comprehends how unhappy the daughter is and fears that she is trying to leave her. The daughter is dreaming of a life beyond being a caregiver for her mother.
The “toast to her health”, meaning the mothers health can be seen as ironic, because it has and underlining meaning of death. Death being the only escape the daughter would have from caring for her mother. This escape is also shown with the image of “a thousand cranes”, “fly up in a sudden breeze” this shows the daughter envisioning