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A good place to start analyzing this poem is to look up the word “Yemanja,” a Carribean goddess, who is often called the mother of all. The mythical tone of the poem is set up in its first stanza, but the frying pan image overlays the mythical idea of a goddess onto the everyday setting of a modern-day American kitchen.
Audrey Lorde is an American poet of Caribbean descent, and much of the poem navigates between the “dark and rich and hidden” mythical space, perhaps associated with the Caribbean. (Her parents were immigrants from Granada), and “the ivory hungers” of the world that the mother in this poem seems to want to conform to.
Much of the tension in the poem rests in the movement between the need for the mythical “black” “Mother” and an ordinary everyday “mother,” who might help the child navigate the two contradictory, but, like the sun and the moon, no less present sides of herself.
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