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The Fickle Voice Of Memory Essay

893 words - 4 pages

During the course of a person’s life, a decision is made as to which direction their life should follow. Most people are encouraged by their loved ones to make this choice for themselves. When Kelly Cherry was twelve, she announced to her musically devoted, string quartet violinist parents that she was going to quit piano lessons and become a writer, in response, “[her] mother said that she would rather kill [her] than have [her] turn out like [her] big brother, a beatnik. She ran to the kitchen to get [a] butcher knife” (“Kelly Cherry”). Needless to say, she was not supported in this career path. Throughout the course of her early writing career, she would hear that she “had no talent for ...view middle of the document...

However, again, it is perceived that almost at the same time, he forgets what the music meant to him. At the end, he pulls himself away from these things, only to realize that he does not know who this woman is, standing at the door of his home (Lines 26-28).
The tone of this one stanza, free verse poem seems to start out as insensitive. Cherry describes him as “a crazy old man” and that his mind is “rattling” (Line 1). However, it allows one to understand that he has Alzheimer’s. The rest of the poem takes on a sad, sympathetic tone. The reader is pulled into the old man’s thoughts. He seems to remember things that he found enjoyment in, but decides that he has no time to focus on them right now. At this point, pity takes over when it is understood that he does not recognize the woman implied to be his wife. He must figure out who the woman is, welcoming him home. Cherry has used many different techniques in “Alzheimer’s”. One can see the use of a simile as well as two examples of assonance when she talks about how the sun “Strikes the iron grillwork like a smithy”, referring to reflected sunlight (Line 11). “Roses and columbine slug it out for space, claw the mortar” is a metaphor for the struggle for life (Line 7). Words seem to flow smoothly in her use of alliteration, “While the white wood trim defines solidity in space” (Line 14). In another example of her technique, Onomatopoeia is captured quite nicely with, “The peculiar screeching of strings” (Line 21).

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