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In "Suicide Note" by Janice Mirikitani, examine the presence of justice.

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readeal3 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted December 8, 2012 at 11:10 AM via web

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In "Suicide Note" by Janice Mirikitani, examine the presence of justice.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 8, 2012 at 11:21 AM (Answer #1)

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If justice is being defined as judgment, then I would suggest that the speaker of the poem sees suicide as a forum where justice is possible. It is evident that the speaker in the poem has not found any redemption or justice in this life.  There is constant and persistent analysis that indicates the speaker sees themselves as a failure in this being.  "Disappointment," "not good enough," and the shortcomings in "trying to please" are all in the exposition of the poem.  There is a reflection of "penance" in the idea that if the speaker takes their own life, they can find a realm where justice is evident.  This is seen in the closing of the poem:

Perhaps when they find me 
they will bury 
my bird bones beneath 
a sturdy pine 
and scatter my feathers like 
unspoken song 
over this white and cold and silent 
breast of earth.

The closing of the poem seems to indicate that suicide and thereafter is a representation of justice.  It is a projection of the redemption and sense of unity that is absent in the fragmentation of this life for the speaker.  It is here where justice can be seen, in terms of resolution and sense of harmony.  This is not an entirely happy or vision of contentment, but it is one in which the speaker understands clearly that justice is only possible through leaving this condition of being.

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