“An American Poem” by Eileen Myles – Poetry Analysis

Blind naivety is a common aspect of life, especially for persons who had a sheltered upbringing.  Eileen Myles finds herself is confronted with this reality when she explores the world around. The central theme is the blatant discrimination that still runs rampant across the country. By focusing on her own life and experience she provides a lucid account of the issues facing the United States, most of which are largely ignored by the elected officials. To bring these issues into perspective, the author uses a confessional style in writing the poem. In using this style, she examines her personal experiences and memories as a primary source in expressing her disposition: “Homeless me with AIDS are among them” (Lines 90-92). The poem is also littered with numerous instances where the author uses rhetorical questions when discussing inequality. She, therefore, succeeds in ensuring that the reader acknowledges the thematic message being put across by pondering over the questions she so expertly poses. It is also vital to note that the overall mood of the poem serves it right in enabling the audience to relate to the message being put across. The overall use of expressions that elucidate a somber state of the nation is meant to strike a chord with thousands of Americans who had been experiencing this inequality in addition to raising awareness. In finality, the author pays special attention to ethos by expressing her trials and tribulations as a lesbian:  “What could be more foolish and obscure. I became a lesbian” (Lines 43-44). The author achieves her goal of enabling her readers to realize that inequality is an actual reality through her own discrimination based on sexual orientation.


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