Poetry Analysis of Departure by Genny Lim: Word Choice, Tone, and Point of View

June 7, 2022 by Essay Writer

Departure was a poem written by Genny Lim, she is a Chinese-American poet. This poem tells about the dying older sister of the writer, probably a Ginny Lim sister or family member. The point of view of the narrator of this poem is first person point of view from the caring and loving sibling. The overall tone of this poem is “too heavy to let her go”, the narrator seems to love her older sister so much. By examining each stanza we can know that the tone and emotion are grown from “trying to accept reality” to “sincerely let her go.”

First stanzas tell us how the narrator is trying to accept reality when her/his older sister has gone. The narrator pretends everything going to be alright, even though it is not. He/she still pretends it is just another regular day and hoping that her/his sister will wake up, yawning and smiling to the narrator. The background of this poem is strongly influenced by Chinese culture. In the 9th line, it tells the reader that older sister and the narrator are Chinese or Asian by the word “Chinatown accent.” It is related to the writer, Genny Lim, who is Chinese-American.

Second stanzas tell a past event of the narrator and his/her older sister, and indirectly tell the relationship between them. Their relationship might not have gone really smooth, but they seem to be caring and loving each other. The tone in this stanza more likely to “feeling blue after the narrator’s older sister died.” The narrator recalling a memory of what he had done with his/her older. A Narrator seems to be very lonely, sad and feeling lost. The second stanzas amplify the Chinese culture background by the words “Incense” in 10th line and “Cheongsam” in 16th line. Incense is a material that produces an aroma therapy fragrant smell. It is usually used in Chinese religious ceremonies, Chinese ancestor veneration, and in Traditional Chinese medicine. Cheongsam is a Chinese traditional dress, usually used during Chinese New Year. Both “Incense” and “Cheongsam” are a great word choice to describe the Chinese tradition and culture.

Third and fourth stanzas tell that the narrator was accepting her/his sister is gone forever. The narrator is ready to face the future without her/his older sister, it can be seen from 23rd line “When I rise to leave you.” The narrator indirectly told us that it would be really difficult to let someone we love go. But at the end, ready or not, we must let her/him go, such as the narrator said in the fourth stanza “I won’t flinch, I won’t cry”. The word choice of line 28th to 30th is a bit ambiguous, is the older sister died because of euthanasia or it is a flashback when she was still alive and under the doctor treatment? The word choice of line 28th to 30th could be a connotation, so there is another meaning of those words.

“Departure” by Ginny Lim is a fantastic poem. Ginny Lim is an amazing poet and can make this poem feel alive. Readers can relate the narrator feeling by reading and understanding this poem. Choosing first person point of view is a great deal. First person point of view makes the reader understand the situation and tone in the poem better. The word choice also excellent, the combination of denotation and connotation, and the usage figure of speech is perfect. Ginny Lim can build up the tone in the poem by her word choice.

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