Racism In Larry Levi's Poem

800 Words 4 Pages
Journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates once stated, “We have this long history of racism in this country, and as it happens, the criminal justice system has been perhaps the most prominent instrument for administering racism.” Dismally, the effect of racism on the legal system is a rampant issue through society, so people, such as poet Larry Levis, spread awareness of this issue using literature as an outlet. In his poem “Make a Law So That the Spine Remembers Wings”, Levis employs allusions, sound devices, and personification to establish the corresponding theme that the justice system is not benefitting people of color, as it is targeting them further.
To construct his poem, Levis utilizes allusions to connect the ideas of race and law enforcement.
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The speaker concurrently portrays how the legal system should behave by depicting the relationship between laws and those who are affected by them, such as “Make a law that loves the one who breaks it” (16). Personifying the laws helps establish the speaker’s desire to convey that the legal system does not treat African Americans as if they are ordinary beings. Moreover, when the tone of the poem begins to intensify, the speaker states, “So that no empty court will make a judge recall” (17). The speaker personifies an empty court to demonstrate that judges tend to make irrational accusations not based on evidence that would be supported by a jury full of unbiased people. This use of personification aids Levis in depicting the preposterous views government officials have towards African Americans. Thus, Levis’ personification of legal elements supports his claim that the oppression African Americans face from the government is irrational.
Overall, using allusions, sound devices, and personification in his poem “Make a Law So That the Spine Remembers Wings”, Levis conceives a speaker who conveys that the racism in law enforcement is a problem that needs to be addressed in his poem. Racism is, unfortunately, a reality in government, and activists, such as Levis, will speak against this injustice. The poetic devices

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