Let’s look at the imagery and motifs that are used in this poem and how they relate to its themes.
The first thing we notice when we read this poem is that there are a lot of mentions of duality and pairs. There are two daughters “cooked up . . . into girls”; mother has “two faces”; the speaker bears “two women upon [their] back.” When we re-read the poem ,we can find further pairs in the imagery and allusions: sun and moon, day and night, brothers and sisters, mothers and daughters, “dark and rich and hidden” and “ivory . . . pale as a witch”. Another duality which exists is the difference between the speaker and the “perfect daughter/who was not me.”
These dualities in the poem allude to a few different concepts. The most striking is the speaker’s sense of a loss of culture in the face of mainstream US society. Yemanjá is an Afro-Caribbean goddess who protects and governs everything to do with women and femininity, and she is also the original creator of...
(The entire section contains 3 answers and 876 words.)