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

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price7781 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lyon’s popular poem, “Where I’m From,” is about looking back on his life and remembering his origins.  Lyon writes about his family, his culture, and his environment in search of his identity.  It’s a poem of self-awareness where he realizes all the things throughout his life that define him.  Lyon’s poem has an overall theme about his family tree and where he comes from.  He describes his Kentucky roots and being from the Artemis and Billie branch of the family tree.  He reminisces about the large elm tree he sees in his yard, about the smells of “strong coffee,” about the sounds of singing, “He restoreth my soul” in church, and about the dirt that tastes like “beets.” At the end of the poem while going through a box of old photographs, Lyon realizes that he is one leaf on the family tree.

All of these memories are puzzle pieces that come together to create a picture of Lyon’s life.  Lyon becomes self-actualized and understands the meaning of his life because of all the people, places, and things that make him unique.