The Century Quilt Poem Analysis

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Personal items can often hold a lot of weight for a child. For Marilyn Nelson Waniek, this is represented through her and her sister’s love of blankets. A source of comfort, imagination, and memories, the blankets and quilt Waniek describes throughout her poem, The Century Quilt, illustrate her feelings towards family. Waniek uses structure, imagery, and tone in her poem to show her deep relationship to her family, and most particularly their diversity and the way their generations progress. Waniek structures her poem much like a quilt: little pieces here and there put together to create something beautiful. Each story she tells, from her Meema’s Indian blanket, to falling asleep under her father army green Supply blanket, holds a memory,
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She uses phrases one would associate with joy, such as: “all of the beautiful sisters giggled and danced”(line 30-1). As Waniek recounts memories- whether they be her own or someone else's- there is an ever-present tone of imagination and dreaming. Waniek describes imagining to be princesses and chieftains with her sister, she imagines her future children, and imagines her family members dancing and playing the pinanola. She talks of sleeping under her father’s blanket, dreaming under her Century Quilt, and finding her everlasting rest there. This common theme gives the reader a sense of comfort and stability, as if they were wrapped in a quilt themselves. The title of Wanieks poem, The Century Quilt, offers insight to her viewpoint. She has described this quilt as a makeup of her history and heritage, the colors of her family's skin, memories of her own and her family's, the imagination of a son. She has made it clear that she values her family, their diversity, their connection, their generations, and it is the title of her poem which solidifies this. By naming her quilt The Century Quilt- and her poem subsequently- Waniek shows her love for the centuries of family she believes to be represented in

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