Rhetorical Analysis Of ' Make A Law So That The Spine Remembers Wings '

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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. For instance, the speaker alludes to the government as he begins the poem: “So that the truant boy may go steady with the State” (1). As the speaker initiates his poem using language that refers to the police, a reader comprehends that law enforcement will be a significant factor in the poem. Further, a reader interprets that a “truant boy” and the “State” are combatants, causing an initial understanding that opposition between government and society exists in his poem (1). Likewise, the speaker continues to deploy words that associates to concepts of the government, such as “jail” and “judge” (9, 24). The allusions to the government clearly imply that the law enforcement system is a key motif of the poem, cementing Levis’ intentions to…

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