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What does this quote mean? "We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business;...

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vass3 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted August 30, 2013 at 12:29 AM via web

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What does this quote mean?

"We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond." - Gwendolyn Brooks

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 2, 2013 at 5:55 PM (Answer #1)

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Some of Brooks' poems deal with a sense of family and community. That is the case in this quote from her poem, "Paul Robeson." This quote illustrates how those in a family and/or a community are interconnected and interdependent. Saying that we are each other's harvest implies that we are the fruits of each other's labor. In other words, what we do and the contributions we make to ourselves, our families, and our communities will either help or hinder those around us. Therefore, we are each other's business because, living in a community, and certainly a family, we are a part of each other's lives. So, each individual should recognize that his/her role in life affects other peoples' lives just as theirs affects us. 

Our potential, as a community and more locally as families, depends upon this idea of recognizing how we are all connected. Thus, if we contribute to the development of ourselves and others, society will be better off than had we simply focused on ourselves. "Magnitude" is defined as: 

The importance, quality, or caliber of something. A number representing the intrinsic or apparent brightness of a celestial body. 

Paraphrasing these definitions and the last line of the quote, we might say that we are that which connects us together; and in those bonds lies the opportunity to reach our greatest quality and our brightest potential. 

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