Describe how the poem “Suicide Note” is reflective of Janice Mirikitani in any way.
The basic premise of the poem is about a high achieving college student who feels she is insufficient. I think that one can pull much from Mirikitani's life in this narrative. Mirikitani was a survivor of sexual abuse as a teenager, a condition that caused her to contemplate suicide. The same feelings of self- blame and self- hate that victims of sexual abuse often fight through are evident in the poem, as the speaker apologizes for her different perceived venues of failure:
Tasks do not come easily.
Each failure, a glacier.
Each disapproval, a bootprint.
ice above my river.
So I have worked hard.
not good enough.
The preceding thought to this of "not good enough not strong enough not good enough" is reflective of Mirikitani's own struggles as a college student at UCLA. She struggled with her own sense of ethnic identity in a setting that failed to demonstrate the appropriate social measures to reach out to those who were "the other" in an ethnic/ racial sense. Mirikitani's own displacement can be seen in the poem, as the speaker feels alienated from the world around her, one in which she is both a part, but yet distant. The embrace of suicide is seen as a realm where some hope of transcendence and unity can be found, something that the alienated Mirikitani must have contemplated in her time as a college student.