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A Father's Humility Essay

677 words - 3 pages

The poem “The Gathering Storm” shares many similarities with “Dangerous Astronomy” Alexie explores the mind of a father who wants to be brave and to hide his true feelings. This poem also opens with the father describing nature, but it involves thunder and lightning instead of just stars. There is still a violent image, but this violent image starts at the beginning of the poem and becomes worst as the progresses, particularly the last stanza. Once again, there are children, and the mother is the one who “soothed the baby”. The focus of this poem is the emphasis on lies and Death instead of resentment of a mother-son relationship. Instead of feeling hopeless like the father in “Dangerous Astronomy”, this father is persistent because he refuses Death to take his family. In this poem, the father compares himself to his brother and Death instead of the mother. While both poems are open-ended and have a twist, the endings contrast well ...view middle of the document...

In the first stanza of “The Gathering Storm” by Sherman Alexie, a husband describes a violent, chaotic scene with “the wind”, “the thunder”, and “the lightning”. The thunder “woke my sons and my wife” and the wife “soothed the baby”. However, in the next stanza, the readers realize that essentially, the first stanza was made up of lies. Readers may wonder why Alexie would make his narrator lie about death, a serious matter. The husband mentions how while his brother buries people and mourns, “I lie about death”. In fact, it’s “easy to lie about death”. This line is significant because it may suggest that the husband’s way of mourning is by lying. He is hiding his feelings and emotions, which continues to grow as the narrative moves along.

In order to hide his grieving, the husband argues how “Death will never take my sons from their beds” and “Death will not force my brother to his knees”. In these lines, Alexie’s narrator puts a strong emphasis on Death, which means he is putting up a brave front to hide his feelings. In short, he is in denial. He refuses defeat by death and will “make it beg”. In stanza seven and eight, Alexie explores the idea of lies versus truth. Readers known that death is inevitable, and if it happens, it must be dealt with instead of denying it.

As the poem progresses, the husband starts to foster his emotional rage with his lies. His rage reaches to such intensity, that in the last stanza, he becomes the Thunder, and blue lightning. The prepositions change from “the thunder” to “I thunder and “the blue lightning” to “I’m blue lightning”. The “Wind” that was roaring in the trees also turned into his “lies” roaring. This last stanza is crucial to the poem, as it is metaphor for his lies, which has controlled his mind. It also leaves an open discussion (like the first poem” because readers can imagine how dangerous the husband is to his family and what will he do with his rage. Finally, the title, “The Gathering Storm” ties this entire poem well as a whole because the word “gathering” here suggests that the husband who was lying about a destructive night has become the night himself. As he “gather[s]” his lies, he is also gathering up his rage and denial.

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