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Reading Response (Poem)

The poem ‘For the Sake of Strangers’ by Dorianne Laux is about the struggles people go through when they are sad. The poem is at one point sad, but Laux also shows the readers that, despite all the grief a person carries, there is hope at the end. Although the poem is a story of one person, Laux has tried to incorporate all readers to show that the problems are universal. Laux has done this by using the word ‘we’ to show that the problems are not only experienced by one person, they are universal, and occur every day (Laux 2011). Finally, the poem ends on a high note. In this case, hope is created to the person. The readers can now see, despite all the troubles, there is hope at the end.

In the beginning of the poem, Laux begins by saying that ‘No matter what the grief, its weight, we are obliged to carry it’ (Laux, 2011). In this case, the readers have an impression that the grief that we have will always be ours. The people may try to escape, but wherever they are amd whatever they do, they have to carry the weight of the grief. As the reader starts reading, he or she already has the impression that it is a poem of people and their grief. As one reads on, Laux indicates that ‘we rise and gather the momentum, the dull strength that pushes us through crowds’ (Laux 2011). In this case, the readers are shown that instead of fighting grief, it is better to embrace it and learn how to solve the problem.

The poem then suddenly changes the tone from sorrow and grief to kindness and goodness. There is a line that says “All day it continues, each kindness reaching toward anther- a stranger singing to no one as I pass on the path, trees offering their blossoms, a retarded child who lifts his almond eyes and smiles” (Laux 2011). In this situation, Laux is showing the readers that everything is okay. The readers start getting hope with the poem despite the sorrowful beginning. At first, the readers are being shown that they cannot run away from their sorrows, now the readers are being shown that, there is hope in the end of every sorrow. This poem changes the moods of the readers from that sorrowful grief moment to that happy mood.

Children are known to be extremely innocent groups of people who bring joy and happiness in people. On the poem, Laux has the child to lighten the face of the poem. This is where it is written in the poem that ‘a retarded child who lifts his almond eyes and smiles’ (Laux 2011). Laux has creatively used the retarded child to show the readers that, the least expected people are the ones who can put a smile on your face and change the fate (Laux 2011). The character in the poem who is sad can be seen to appreciate the smile given to her by that small child. It offers hope to the readers (Laux 2011). The readers have the impression of a child who can afford a smile yet he or she is retarded for life. This is something that the child will never change. This shows that there are no bigger problems than other problems are. Hence, every problem is solvable.

The most amazing about this poem is how the different strangers have made a significant impact on the sorrowful person. Beginning with the young boy who has offered to show directs of the place to the sorrowful. This is a stranger to the reader (Laux 2011). The second person is the woman who opens the door and waits until the speaker passes. This creates the impression that the woman cares about the speaker raising her spirits. The stranger who is singing to no one has offered the speaker or the character of the poem with some music in his life. The blossoming trees creates an excellent environment for the speakers (Laux 2011). This kindness that has followed each other systematically in the poem has changed the life of the speaker completely. It has offered hope where it was lost. Therefore, Laux has created the impressions of hope in the readers. Additionally, Laux has shown that a stranger from all corners of the world can have an impact on someone’s life.

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