Poetry Questions and Answers

Start Your Free Trial

What is the theme of "Where I'm From" by George Ella Lyon?  

The principal theme of "Where I'm From" is the elements that make up a person's identity. The poem is also about childhood and the experience of growing up within a family.

Expert Answers info

Colin Cavendish-Jones, Ph.D. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseCollege Professor, Lawyer

bookM.A. from Oxford University

bookPh.D. from St. Andrews University


calendarEducator since 2019

write3,067 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

George Ella Lyon's poem "Where I'm From" is about the elements that make up identity. When someone meets you for the first time, one of their first questions is often to ask where you come from. This is often a formality, but if they are really interested, then saying "I'm from Los Angeles" does not tell them very much. This poem answers the common question in uncommon detail.

In the first line, the speaker claims to be "from clothespins." This single point tells you quite a lot, more than a geographical location. The speaker comes from a family in which they would hang clothes out to dry in the back garden (of which there is more detail later), rather than, for instance, sending them to a laundry. The fact that the clothespins are significant may mean that the speaker has a early memory of helping to hang out the washing and remembers the clothespins along with the smell of "Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride." The speaker has vivid memories of childhood, recalling not only the color of...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 957 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

ninepizzarolls eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2018

write70 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Science

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Ester Baumgartner, Ph.D. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)

bookPh.D. from University of Miami (Fla.)


calendarEducator since 2016

write785 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Arts, and Law and Politics

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

price7781 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write668 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

check Approved by eNotes Editorial