Poetry Stanza four shows Coleridge's reaction and solution to the treatment he has received. It explains how he comes home and casually and calmly, 'pulls off his jacket' and 'takes off his shoes'. This shows that Coleridge isn't affected until he actually comes in contact with another person. We then see that he will then, 'beat the water and will out of his puny little family'. His reaction described in the poem, shows that he takes his frustration and anger out on his black innocent family. The description emphasises the brutality of the event and gains sympathy for the family. These events can be described as a cycle of abuse as Coleridge receives abuse from his boss and then passes it on to his family.
In Stanza Five of the poem we discover the pleasure which the 'puny white' boss receives when he knows about the black family being beaten. It says that 'everybody, even Coleridge, wondered'. This is telling us that nobody knew why Coleridge was abusing his family. Everybody, but the weasly little boss with his envious little eyes. The repetition of the word 'everybody' is used to add effect and makes the poem memorable. Also this is the point where we find the boss knows exactly what he is doing. 'He knew, he always knew, when people told him about Coleridge's family, about the black eyes, and bruised faces; Lord, how that scrawny man grinned'. This proves that the boss has racist motives and knows exactly what he is doing. Also the general description of the boss reflects his racist attitude, he is a repulsive symbol of how cruel and ugly racism is.
The Poem Explains The Build Up of Anger in Coleridge
The poem's sixth stanza shows us that the boss is put in a good mode by his treatment of Coleridge. The reader of the poem finds that the boss, 'treats Coleridge nice', 'as if he's done him the biggest old favour'. This suggests that the boss is in a good mood as he knows the black family is suffering. It could also mean that the boss is trying to play mind games with Coleridge. At the end of the Stanza the old, harsh ways begin to start again, 'then right after lunch he'd start on Coleridge again'. This shows that the boss does not want the abuse and beatings to end.
Stanza seven is straight back into the abuse. The boss says, "Can't you move faster than that? Who on earth needs a lazy nigger?" As this is also so direct in language it shocks the reader even more and proves that there will be no solution to the, 'cycle of abuse'.
Later in the poem we again hear of Coleridge's reaction, he would, 'just stand there', and his eyes, 'slid away lurking at something else'. 'Lurking' is a dark threatening word and may suggest that Coleridge is thinking about what he is going to do to his family when he gets home or that his anger is building up.
The poem is an irregular poem as it has stanza of different lengths, there are no rhymes in the poem but lots of punctuation. This slows down the poem and really makes the reader think about what is being said.
Overall I think that Maya Angelou sends her views to the reader very well with this poem. I think that the shock tactics are one of the main tactics which do this.
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