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In Muriel Rukeyser's "Looking at Each Other", please explain what this poem means.

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gebnartin | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted November 3, 2010 at 2:19 PM via web

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In Muriel Rukeyser's "Looking at Each Other", please explain what this poem means.

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epollock | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted November 3, 2010 at 2:22 PM (Answer #1)

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This poem is notable for its strong expression of intimacy. It clearly describes sexual experiences, but does so impressionistically and psychologically, not graphically. There are two possibilities about the listener of this poem, whom the speaker is talking to. The first and more likely listener is the speaker’s partner or lover. The second is a close friend or confidante. In either case, the speaker assumes a closeness and confidentiality that excludes any casual listener. The poem is dominated by the device of anaphora; that is, deliberate repetition for rhetorical effect. The obvious repetitions are the words “Yes, we,” with slight variations, and then there is a repetition of “each other” and “together.” In addition, the sentence structures are also repeated throughout. One can hardly imagine a more thoroughgoing use of the rhetorical device of anaphora. If repetition is inadvertent it is awkward and it detracts from the ideas being expressed. In “Looking at Each Other,” however, the repetition lends considerable weight to the emotional ties the speaker is describing.

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