The Big Question: Gwendolyn Brooks

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<ul><li><p>The Big QuestionTHIS MONTH OUR TEEN UNZIPPER, ANSHU GUPTA,EXPLAINS WHY SHE GROOVES ON THIS GWENDOLYNBROOKS POEM. </p><p>POETRYUNZIPPED&gt;&gt; Drawing Conclusions</p><p>Oh mother, mother, where is happiness?</p><p>They took my lovers tallness off to war,</p><p>Left me lamenting. Now I cannot guess</p><p>What I can use an empty heart-cup for.</p><p>He wont be coming back here any more.</p><p>Some day the war will end, but, oh, I knew</p><p>When he went walking grandly out that door</p><p>That my sweet love would have to be untrue.</p><p>Would have to be untrue. Would have to court</p><p>Coquettish death, whose impudent and strange</p><p>Possessive arms and beauty (of a sort)</p><p>Can make a hard man hesitateand change.</p><p>And he will be the one to stammer, Yes.</p><p>Oh mother, mother, where is happiness?</p><p>To unzip poetry:&gt;&gt;TO REVEAL THETRUTH OF A POEM</p><p>&gt;&gt;TO ANALYZE APOEMS MEANING </p><p>&gt;&gt;TO CLARIFY THE FORMBEHIND THE WORDS</p><p>the sonnet-ballad BY GWENDOLYN BROOKS</p><p>THE SONNET-BALLAD FROM APPENDIX TO THE ANNIAD: LEAVES FROM ALOOSE-LEAF WAR DIARY IN ANNIE ALLEN BY GWENDOLYN BROOKS, PUB-LISHED BY HARPER. 1949 BY GWENDOLYN BROOKS. </p><p>LC2 10-04 p34 Poetunzip FC 8/5/04 2:53 PM Page 2</p></li><li><p>ANSHU GUPTA UNZIPS THE SONNET-BALLADI love this poem because everything about it is beautiful, yetit represents sad events. In the first line, the speaker is fullof anguish because her lover was taken away. It is an angrypoem that touches so many issues: war, love, individuality,</p><p>and the quest for happiness. Brooks writes in trochaic pen-tameter, with 10 syllables in each line. The trochees</p><p>have calm beginnings andharsh endings. They coin-cide with the poemstheme: In the past thespeaker experienced lovethat was calm and gentle,</p><p>but it was cut short by war, which is hard, rough, andstressful. Brooks paints an image with each word she usesand allows the reader to experience the scene for herself.She ends the poem with a question that keeps the readerthinking. This poem is beautiful because it does not tell ushow to interpret it or even what it is about. It just leaves usto wonder, Where is the happiness? </p><p>ANSHU GUPTACARY ACADEMYDURHAM, NORTHCAROLINAAGE: 15</p><p>Unzipped: Your Turn&gt;&gt; IN WHAT SENSE WILL THE SPEAKERSLOVER HAVE TO BE UNTRUE? </p><p>&gt;&gt;WHAT CHANGE DOES THE SPEAKER FEAR?</p><p>&gt;&gt;HOW DOES THE RHYME SCHEME AFFECT THESOUND AND MEANING OF THE POEM? </p><p>&gt;&gt;WHAT IS THE EFFECT OF REPEATING THEOPENING QUESTION AT THE END OF THE POEM?</p><p>ABOUTGWENDOLYNBROOKSBORNJune 7, 1917Topeka, Kan.DIEDDecember 3,2000, Chicago,Ill.EDUCATION Wilson JuniorCollege,ChicagoBIGAWARDPulitzerPrize in PoetryHER CROWDIn the 1930s,Brooks hung outwith LangstonHughes. In the1960s, shebecame active </p><p>in the Black Arts</p><p>movementin Chicago.</p><p>LEFT</p><p> PA</p><p>GE: </p><p>AP/</p><p>WID</p><p>E W</p><p>OR</p><p>LD P</p><p>HO</p><p>TOS</p><p>; LE</p><p>FT P</p><p>AG</p><p>E: H</p><p>UG</p><p>HES</p><p>: </p><p>CO</p><p>RB</p><p>IS;</p><p>PU</p><p>LITZER</p><p>: C</p><p>OU</p><p>RTESY O</p><p>F TH</p><p>E P</p><p>ULI</p><p>TZER</p><p> PR</p><p>IZES</p><p>Literary Cavalcade OCTOBER 2004 35</p><p>SEND US the titleand author ofyour favoritepoem, and tell uswhy you love it.What is it aboutthe poem thatspeaks to you?Whats yourfavorite image?How does it relateto you and yourlife? Send yourresponse toLC@Scholastic.com.</p><p>LC2 10-04 p34-35 Poetunzip FC 8/10/04 11:57 AM Page 3</p></li></ul>

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