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Comparison Between "countess P’s Advice for New Girls" by Natash Tretheway, "skinhead" by Patricia Smith, and "negro Hero" by Gwendolyn Brooks

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Join now to read essay Comparison Between "countess P’s Advice for New Girls" by Natash Tretheway, "skinhead" by Patricia Smith, and "negro Hero" by Gwendolyn Brooks

Persona is defined as the narrator of or a character in a literary work, sometimes identified with the author. Persona poems are written in the first person as if the author is to be perceived as the character in the poem. Three poems that have persona as a theme are “Countess P’s Advice for New Girls” by Natasha Tretheway, “Negro Hero” by Gwendolyn Brooks and “Skinhead” by Patricia Smith. These poems are about different types of people but all use the same theme, that theme being the use of persona by the author.

In “Countess P’s Advice for New Girls” by Natasha Tretheway from the book Bellocq’s Ophelia, the author characterizes herself as a whore named Ophelia who works in a whorehouse in Storyville, New Orleans. In the poem, Countess P. was the madam of the whorehouse in which Ophelia worked and was explaining to her how to act around the men that would come to use the service provided. It contains 7 stanzas that were made up of tercets and each line was approximately 10 syllables. The author uses literary elements such as similes and important line breaks to catch the attention of the reader and make it seem like she really is the character in the poem. Among the poems we read using this theme, this poem had a quiet, subtle and calm tone.

The tone in the poem, “Skinhead” by Patricia Smith coming out of her book titled Big Town Big Talk, is a lot more violent and intense than that of the first poem. The author of this poem is an African American female but transforms herself into a white male skinhead in this poem. In this poem the man who is perceived as a skinhead has almost a biblical feeling when he describes why he is doing what he does. He feels that his bigotry and racial superiority has some kind of elegance, which he turns into rage. He compares himself o Hitler but without all the power. He believes his destiny is to “make things right” this includes when he beats the people that disgust him including African Americans and gays, which also by the way arouses him sexually. The author uses a lot of literary elements in this poem including rhyming action, similes and metaphors. Rhyming action is when the author puts something in the beginning of the poem and then brings it back in the end. The writing is intense and hits the reader hard because it sounds like a skinhead actually wrote it instead of an African American poet. One of the metaphors used is “I’m riding the top rung of the perfect race”. I translated this to be the top rung of a ladder and that the white race was at the top because that what a lot of white bigots and racists think. The simile from the poem “…and I came off looking like some kind of freak, like I’m Hitler himself.” is a major comparison that he sees between himself and Hitler just without all the power and control that Hitler himself had. This poem is 10 stanzas long with 3 separate lines at the very end to finish it off.

The poem “Negro Hero” written by Gwendolyn

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