Poetry Analysis for “Good Times” Essay

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The poem “Good Times” was really moving. It was a fairly short poem, but in the eighteen lines it was full of emotion. The author was talking about how her family had hit a good patch in their life after an apparent rough patch. She speaks about her father getting the power turned back on, her uncle winning the small lottery, and her family coming to celebrate. It seemed to me that this was coming from a child’s perspective. I researched the author, Lucille Clifton, and learned that she was an African-American woman who loved to write about African-American experiences.

She grew up in Buffalo, New York which, during that time period, would definitely have some poor African-American families. I feel that Lucille was inspired by her childhood experiences, or other experiences she saw, to write “Good Times”. The first two stanzas of the poem seemed to be a flashback into her childhood where the power’s back on and the family seems to be doing okay. Then the last two lines seem to be back in her present self reminiscing on how her childhood self was thinking about the good times. When family’s have very little to begin with they tend to appreciate the little things more.

I think that’s what this poem’s major theme was. The child speaking seems to be very happy with what’s going on in her life even though many things seem to be stressful. For example, one line says, “and the lights is back on”. This would indicate that for at least a small time period she went without power. However, she’s saying the lights are back on so even though it’s a simple thing to most families in America, it’s a very big deal in this child’s life. That was one of the first few lines so it hit me right off the bat just how touching this poem was going to be.

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