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Reid Mitchell Period 8 1/29/12 American History Analysis

The shifts, contrasting diction, and free verse form in the poem American History illustrates the significance of the consistency of blacks invisibility throughout American history. The poem serves as a representation of the exploitation of blacks and the invisibility of their mistreatment. The poem also expresses the truth not seen in the history books through the invisible crimes done to the black people. The writers choice in diction, shifts, and free verse form significantly add to the revealing of the true crime on blacks. The poems diction consists of many elements exposing the writers true purpose in portraying the blacks oppression. A notable choice in diction is the phrase blown up; the writer must have used this negative phrase to emphasis the horror done to these four black girls in an Alabama church. The writer could have used something more refined like passed on, but using the words blown up increases the harshness of the act. The diction the author chose helped further emphasize the harshness of the acts done to the blacks while still portraying the disregard for their demises. The shifts in the poem indicate the differences in actions against the blacks while obtaining the same reaction, invisibility. The first action mentioned is blowing up FOUR black girls in a church, and then it changes to FIVE HUNDRED middle passage slaves forcibly drowned. Both crimes are bad, although the killing of five hundred blacks would be far worse than four the author shows that both crimes went unnoticed, therefore comparing the severity of the invisibility of blacks in American history. The two crimes also shifted from one about fire and an explosion to one about being drowned in water just for the sake of the slave holders pride. In this poem the shifts allow the author to portray the differences between two completely diverse crimes and yet the same outcome of invisibility. The author chose to write in free verse form because it would allow him to portray the two crimes closely together in one sentence followed by a final question displaying the true meaning of the passage. The deaths of the blacks in the poem take place within the first sentence of the poem comparing the two deaths to each other plainly and simply. While the last sentence, Cant find what you cant see can you emphasizes the invisibility of the two crimes and brings together the final thought of the poem, leaving the reader to think about the cruelty done to the blacks and the blatant disregard for their deaths.