Summary Of The Poem By Li Young Lee

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‘Out of Hiding’ by Li-Young Lee and ‘I Am’ by John Clare, are poems both centred on isolation. Each speaker is in a self-aware, isolated and contemplative space, looking for peace and solitude. However, each of these spaces have been created in differing ways. This essay will look further into these spaces and how they are created, and the ideas and themes surrounding each speaker. The title ‘Out of Hiding’ already has connotations of isolation and the poem’s speaker is clearly distant from other people, noting ‘someone said [their] name in the garden’ (1.1), but not who said it, or why. However, their sense of self seems linked to this name. The first time the name is said the narrator ‘grew smaller’ (1.2), as though they were shrinking away from it ‘in the spreading shadow of the…show more content…
Perhaps by hearing their name, they are reminded of this thing that they want to avoid. The line ‘while I grew smaller’ (1.2) is shorter than the surrounding lines, reflecting this hidden space visually on the page, whilst the imagery of the peonies suggest fragility. These connotations of distance and of getting smaller already help to create ideas of space, quiet and isolation for the listener. Similarly, Clare’s narrator is also distant ‘friends forsake [them] like a memory lost’ (2.2), and they are isolated and alone. Unlike Lee’s speaker, Clare’s speaker is being avoided, and this avoidance seems tied up in their sense of self. They boldly declare ‘I am’, but admit that ‘what [they are] none cares or knows’ (2.1). The comparison to being like ‘a memory lost’ (2.2) suggests that they have been corrupted in some way, and they have become a pariah. Whilst Lee’s speaker seems peaceful and steady, Clare’s is emotional and is the ‘self-consumer of [their] woes’ (2.3). The speaker is preoccupied with their problems, perhaps becoming depressed or mentally ill,

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