Thursday, January 3, 2013

When I Die

In the poem “When I Die”, Nikki Giovanni reflects on the heartache she’s experienced during her lifetime. The title “When I Die” gives the reader an idea of what the poem will be about before reading. I believe when Giovanni was writing this poem there wasn’t anything specific she wanted to talk, given that it the idea of this poem speaks on her entire life.  One can assume that the speaker would be Nikki Giovanni, and mainly because she uses “I” and personal parts of her life to convey the message of this poem. It seems as if her audience would be the people who have hurt her the most. She wanted revenge from those individuals who showed any sympathy after her death. This is shown in the first stanza where she says “when I die I hope no one whoever hurt m cries and if they cry I hope their eyes fall out”. Being realistic, it is nearly impossible for an individual’s eye to fall out but this only embrace the poet’s sardonic tone throughout the poem.  She wanted them to experience the pain and trouble they gave her while she was living. Going into the second stanza, Giovanni talks about her death being recognized by important individuals of the government.  This was shown through her idea of giving everyone a day off of work in order to attend her celebration. One can assume Nikki Giovanni valued her life and believed she was very important to the world. Closing the poem Giovanni, addressed the “haters” per say.  She knew there were people who gossiped about her , but she rather keep it that way. She notes “please don’t let them read “Nikki Rosa” maybe just let some black woman who called herself my friend go around and collect”. From this line the reader can assume Nikki Giovanni has had some conflicts with females who called themselves her friend but ended up stabbing her in the back. The message the poet tried to convey in this poem was too, encourage the reader to do something they love very well and enjoy , the people who stab you in the back shouldn’t affect the life you plan to live.  

1 comment:

  1. I definitely feel that you understand Giovanni's overall point with this poem. I like how you include more specific lines from the poem to support your arguments.

    You talk a little about the effect of the first lines of the poem. What else can you say about them? What's the effect of her diction and the images she creates for the reader?

    Did you notice the tone shift when she mentions her son? How does this shift in tone change your perspective of the speaker?