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Significance Of The Title

posted Jan 18, 2011 06:18:29 by JessicaPhelps2192
The title of the poem, You Laughed and Laughed and Laughed by Gabriel Okara, has a very strong significance on why it is the way it is. Mainly, the speaker in this poem is stating many things that they do in their culture and is trying to show their traditions. However, some other person watching, from a different culture, just harshly laughs and laughs and laughs at them. Stanza three says, “You laughed at my song/ you laughed at my walk” (9-10). Stanza four says, “Then I danced my magic dance/ to the rhythm of talking drum pleading, but you shut your/ eyes and laughed and laughed and laughed” (11-13). The author proves with those two stanzas that no matter what they did, or how hard they tried at something, this certain person just laughed at them. They criticized their culture, showing no respect and just being flat out rude. The title of the poem couldn’t have been written any simpler, or have any more of a literal meaning on how it relates to the story.
[Last edited Jan 18, 2011 06:18:59]
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5 replies
NatalieAldean23 said Jan 18, 2011 16:32:11
I agree with you very much Mrs. Phelps. This title fits the poem very well and I do not think that they could have come up with a better one. The poem is criticizing the many different nationalities and what people think of other people. The person in this poem is being very rude and they should not have done what they did. The things they said come back to haunt them because the other person starts making fun of them. This title is very significant to the poem.
tparsons93 said Jan 19, 2011 16:05:27
I also agree with you Jessica Phelps. You got out of it a little more than I did, though. I would have never guessed it would be talking about culture and nationalities, but now that you brought the point up, it does make a lot of sense. I thought that the people were just laughing at him for no reason. The title is so simple yet so meaningful. The words in the poem are also simple, but get right down to the point!
jgcabs said Jan 19, 2011 16:39:19
I, also, agree with everybody. It is clear the poetic "you" is insulting the culture and customs of the speaker. I find the title "You Laughed and Laughed and Laughed" shows the irony in the poem in the end, that "you" may laugh and criticize, but in the end the speaker is the one with the last laugh. Mid-way through the poem as the reader you see the speaker gain control and turn the tables on "you". Instead of insulting the poetic "you", the speaker points out where poetic "you" came from in lines 29-37 and that without the speakers race, we wouldn't be here. The poem reminds me of the sayings "Don't bite the hand that feeds you" or "Never forget your roots".
Seancorc said Jan 20, 2011 15:53:06
Like everyone else, I agree, making this assignment pretty easy. Specifically, your last comment about how the title couldn't be any simpler is completely true, even on top of the analyzing you did into its meaning. In this way, the poem has a lot of underlying story in a simple, clear and concise format, and I think you got it when you pulled out the meaning to be about culture and traditions and how the writer has to deal with other peoples' reactions.
katelynnthewonderful said Jan 20, 2011 16:35:31
As everyone else agreed, I did too. The title of this poem fits perfectly with it. It is powerful because it says the word “laughed” three times. When a title does this you know that the author is specifically trying to prove a point. Okara does a great job of getting her point across and being a bigger person in the end. This could be hard for a lot of people, but she seems okay with it.
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