Student Question

Can you explain and summarize the poem "Corona Says" by Vishnu S. Rai?

Quick answer:

Vishnu S. Rai's poem "Corona Says" centers on a heated, one-sided dialogue with a violent egomaniac. The bellicose megalomaniac might symbolize Western colonial powers, and the speaker could represent the colonized.

Expert Answers

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Vishnu S. Rai’s poem "Corona Says" begins with a command. The speaker—the person narrating the poem—asks the person they're addressing to stop crying and to stop cursing them. The first three lines make it known that the speaker and the person they're talking to are not on amicable terms. This is a confrontational, antagonistic relationship.

The anger is reinforced when the speaker accuses the subject they're speaking to of downplaying the deaths that they've caused and overemphasizing the casualties that the speaker has caused. Both appear to have engaged in lethal, destructive behavior; however, the person being addressed seems to skirt responsibility for the brutality that they've created.

Indeed, the person being addressed looks like a know-it-all or an egomaniac. The speaker makes fun of the person. They mock them for calling themselves "the crown of creation." The speaker tells this person that they're not actually aware of everything. For instance, they don't know about those who "fly in the sky" or "live in the ocean."

Again, there appear to be many problems with the person the speaker is addressing. This person is ruining the blue sky with their "dust and smoke." They also treat other people as "caged animals" and "slaves."

In the final lines, the speaker gives the person a warning: if they don't change their ways, there will be trouble that could push civilization all the way back to "cave time."

Summary aside, it might be useful to think of the speaker as a colonized subject and the person their addressing as symbolic of a Western superpower. Like England, the United States, and so on, the addressee thinks it can control the world and treat people that aren't a part of their empires as disposable and less than human.

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