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Required Reading

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Select one of the poems that you read in the “Required Reading” section of the content area for this activity. Write a 200 word reflection on it, explaining how the poem made an everyday situation or event unique. Review your selected poem first. WHERE THERE’S A WALL

Joy Kogawa

Where there’s a wall
there’s a way through a
gate or door. There’s even
a ladder perhaps and a
sentinel who sometimes sleeps.
There are secret passwords you
can overhear. There are methods
of torture for extracting clues
to maps of underground passages.
There are zeppelins, helicopters,
rockets, bombs, battering rams,
armies with trumpets whose
all at once blast shatters
the foundations.

Where there’s a wall there are
words to whisper by loose bricks,
wailing prayers to utter, birds
to carry messages taped to their feet.
There are letters to be written —
poems even.

Faint as in a dream
is the voice that calls
from the belly
of the wall.

First of all, I chose this poem because I personally like things that relate to life and journeys. This poem consists of many different forms of symbols and imagery. The wall was used many times to represent a boundary in life, which is related to other concepts. “There are methods of torture for extracting clues” for example, could give a literal image of someone taken hostage who is being water boarded to confess answers. To reach a goal there will always be something in our way and there are also ways to get around them. In this poem, Joy Kogawa lists different situations that include the obstacles that one must go through to reach satisfaction.

This poem gives a life lesson that tells us not to give up and that there should always be a way to find our expectations. When it talks about rockets, bombs and armies it could be talking about war or atrocities that occur around the world. In some people’s eyes this is the way to reach their success and to others we see it as destruction of society. There will almost always be a way for people to get what they want, and the process will not be pleasant all the time. When it says “Wailing prayers to utter” this could represent when someone is having troubles and they turn to prayer for support.

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