The Century Guilt By Marilyn Nelson Analysis

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After reading and analyzing The Century Quilt by Marilynn Nelson, the reader can interpret that the author is telling a story about her cultural background and the significance of a family heirloom that has been passed down for generations. The narrator was sharing her feelings on how she felt about not getting a family heirloom over her older sister and she related that to her grandmother. Nelson used theme, symbolism, and point of view to showcase her feelings about being an outcast in her own family. When reading the poem, it is evident that the theme of the poem is exclusion. The speaker felt as if she was left out of her own family, so she used her pain and compared it to her grandmother’s experience when she was mended into a new family. The speaker said, “My sister and I were in love with Meema’s Indian blanket.” The author is introducing her Native American background and let’s the reader know that her and her older sister both had a form of attachment to the blanket. Nelson states, “she brought…the blanket I found on my sister’s bed the last time I visited her…I remembered how I’d planned to inherit that blanket…” The …show more content…
Throughout the poem the speaker gave the audience small hints and most of them were based on dominance and time frame. In the first stanza Nelson states, “…we used to wrap ourselves at play in its folds and be chieftains and princesses.” Chieftains and princesses are forms of power and the chief is the highest form of power in Indian tribes, so there was a form of dominance there between the speaker and her older sister. The older was the chieftain was the speaker’s older sister and the speaker herself was the princess right under her. Also in the same quote she says, “used to”, so the reader can interpret that they are not as close as they used to be and maybe it was the jealousy and envy that drove them away from each

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