Hanging Fire By Audre Lorde: Poem Analysis

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The adolescent stages of one's life can trigger intense existential thoughts. These moments in one’s life are rather fragile as the world suddenly becomes vastly overwhelming. Therefore, a form of guidance is need the most. The adolescent period is when most people develop insecurities and becomes aware of many social issues. In the poem “Hanging Fire”, Audre Lorde explicitly delineates the battle between a 14 year old girl, the world, her relationships, and herself. The poem effectively captures the insecurity and anxiousness of this girl by its use of diction, tone, mood, and how it is structured. The theme of self-consciousness can easily be seen in the second line of the poem. The teenage girl indicates that her own “skin has betrayed…show more content…
She is going through so much inner and outer struggle that she is afraid she would not be able to live long enough to experience life. She wonders what would happen if “[she] die[s] before morning” (lines 8-9). Dying before morning signifies that she would only experience darkness and that she would not be able to see the light. She is facing so much difficulty that she has completely lost hope. She also speculated that if if she “die[s] before graduation / they will sing melodies / but finally / tell the truth about [her]” (lines 15-18). She thinks that people would only care about her if she dies because when she was living, “nobody ever stops to think about [her] side of it” (lines 24-25). The speaker feels that nobody notices her. (elab) Furthermore, there is so much void in her soul that “there is nothing [she] want[s] to do” even though there is “too much that has to be done” (lines 19-21). This sense of idleness shows lack of inspiration and motivation. Everything she is doing feels like a responsibility. It feels like, since she is growing up, she can no longer do things that is fun and she is interested in. Then, she asks herself if she will “live long enough to grow up”. The speaker reiterates an existential thought. Although this contradicts her belief that she is, indeed, growing up, she questions when will she get her life

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