In were given. The reader can infer

In
“at the cemetery, walnut grove plantation, south carolina, 1989” by Lucille
Clifton, the speaker talks about how the slaves that worked on the plantation
were forgotten, never honored, and never received justice for what happened to
them. The speaker of the poem took the readers on a tour of the plantation and
the cemetery as she expressed her views with anger and sadness. Through the use
of repetition, tone, and diction, Clifton effectively articulated the theme of
the poem, which was recognition and remembrance.

            This poem allows the reader to have
an insight on how the slaves were only looked at as property and had no
recognition. Clifton uses the repetition of the phrases “tell me your names”
(5) and “nobody mentioned slaves” (6) to express her desire of wanting the
slaves to be identified as more than just property to their masters. Also
through the use of those repetitions, the reader can sense that the speaker is
speaking with anger towards the lack of humanity the slaves were given. The
reader can infer that in lines 17 and 18 the speaker was reading a sign, which
stated “the inventory lists ten slaves but only men were recognized,” because
it was italicized. By listing the slaves as “inventory” shows how they were
property and not humans to the owners. Also, by saying “but only men were
recognized” makes the reader think that the women on the plantation weren’t
even seen as an object or property, which implies that the women had it worse
than the men. The entire poem was written in lowercase letters, including the
title. The lack of uppercase letters lets the readers know that Clifton is
trying to give respect to the slaves that didn’t get the recognition that they
deserved. But with the repetition of the last few lines with “here lies,”
Clifton demands that society hear the slaves, hear what they never got to say,
and hear how hopeless they felt. This poem symbolized a lot of the African
American history, making a statement that slaves were never human beings.

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