What is the meaning of the poem "The Youngest Daughter" by Cathy Song?

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Cathy Song, a Chinese-Korean American poet, often writes about her family.   Song was the youngest of six children.  Her poem “The Youngest Daughter” refers to the Chinese concept of filial piety.  This custom means to take care of one's parents with respect and honor, sacrificing for them.  It is considered the most important virtue of a child for his parent.

Written in free verse, this poem employs first person point of view with the narration provided by the youngest daughter.  Through her eyes, the reader learns of the relationship between the mother and daughter. The narrator encapsulates a day in both of their lives.

The day begins in darkness and pain for the daughter who suffers from migraine headaches.  Her skin is pale, damp and tingly.  Often, her mother rubs her brow to ease the ache from the migraine. 

As she brings her mother in for her bath, the mother sounds in good humor, joking about her large breasts...

(The entire section contains 500 words.)

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